Speeding on bipolar disorder’s mania

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I am now.  I just realized it tonight.  It’s been rising for about three days, I can retrospectively tell, by my difficulty falling asleep and my waking up earlier and earlier.  I am hypomanic now.  I should have noticed by my skipping concentration as I’ve been reading, but it’s hard to notice things like that when you have no clue you’re supposed to be looking for them.  Gradually, I am learning things like sleep, which are cues I need to keep an eye on.

When I’m hypomanic I write things like this.  Which are perfectly sensible, which consist of good commentary, but which are overcharged.  It’s fine to say things like that to some company I’m never going to work for (and, yes, I did send them the link), but I would say things like that to my current employer, in email, when I worked.  When I’m manic it just seems like a good idea!  But it’s the sort of thing that can get you fired, and is part of why I’m unemployable.

This—how I am now—is just high enough to write.  To kindle this state and let it ride for a few months, balancing it with silences in the evening so it doesn’t get out of control, is what I did with ::HARD, and it might be what I’m about to do with this next project, if I write it.  I have a song that goes through my head.  I think I can time my mania to it: the faster I hum it to myself, the speedier I am.  I am humming it pretty fast now.

Words get me charged up—twitter, reading, writing, phone conversations.  The less there’s a visual component, the speedier I get: so an exciting phone conversation is the worst.  When I talk with my sister (a person who is intelligent, full of ideas) it can overcharge me.  We have to limit phone time, sometimes.

So I’m sitting outside.  Yes, I am writing.  Maybe it’s not the best idea.  But I have to remark on this, somehow, as my experience, and this is the best way to do it.  I ate some food, to ground myself in my body, and in a minute I’m going to take my nighttime medicine, skipping the antidepressant (per doctor’s instruction, during times of mania) and taking the prescribed repeat on the sleeping med, to hopefully get me to sleep.  I’m not in an unpleasant state, not quite, but I know where this can go, and where it goes is to a psych hospital, and I don’t want to go to one of those right now.

I just re-read this post, and found it difficult to stay on track.  But I’m glad I did re-read it because I had already forgotten that I was about to take my medication.  See, it’s tricky to remember things at times like these.

Notes on ::HARD

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notes for the book

– ..and smoothes her hair..should it be his? :: Or change it earlier..probably the former

– Chad and him went to school together..but chads family .. For the funeral..did they come from far away..maybe change this last

– ..any place, any time, any way..Add another any in there..?

– reconsider putting Jules’ necklace under the round table in the clean-out catalogue

– he takes the computer from home into the car..then later all he takes from the car is his iPod .. work this out – just make it an iPad, throughout

Make sure that’s the version of the Nietzsche quote you want to use

when he says he and Ash have been split for a long time..is that a little too much of a lie?  maybe he doesn’t stretch it quite that far?

?

have Liz, the lizard girl, say something about the bags..Mick would spot them, not want the bags to go in, Liz knows what’s in them, oks it

too much rain?

?

include the event of him getting beat up by black guys, as a precursor to the Third Street corner? (at the very very beginning, like 1st or second section, early-Liz era)

“Ashley and I went to different high schools” << yes, obviously, if she’s from Florida? Rephrase this?

maybe sometime later, like in the catalogue of what’s under the round table, mention Jules’ necklace again, to reprise it, since it’s such a good object

or even build up the symbols by using them, specifically, later?

or just keep it a one-half [implied] structure/analogy, as it currently is

..I think a half-point reprise later (refer to necklace, don’t need to redescribe) might balance it without being overextended

“I’ve known her since we were kids” >> qc like {She went to Stivers.}

“play that file, again” >> the non-literal, but in other ways proper, {tape} might be more appropriate here (and was in the first draft)..might change this but it’s a tough one with anachnosim versus literal

————————————-

?

“codewords for everything. Blacklight bowling means we sit in Gao’s Eclipse and he bumps crystal meth. He heats it in these little”

..not sure I want to do this..it weakens the sentence considerably

this :: http://nerdinlove.tumblr.com/post/4447578111 :: to chingy holiday in :: Brooklyn :: make this epic :: like in the second pass, make even the secondary characters fully-drawn :: every character, they should be able to see, feel, get a handle/glipse on/of their whole life and distinct motivation :: take your time

enforce and enhance the punctuation-follows-character trends..each character has their own punctuation that is prevalent when that character, or that mood, or that effect, is in place

lowercase a bunch of these cheesehead proper nouns..to disrespect them..like python..fuck proper nouns and acronyms

where is his Mom?  was she still in Dayton?  that’s a question that pops out as I write this..address it

need to understand why, more, Jules won’t leave Dayton

..play that out more..not only won’t she go with him, but because of that, she’s holding him back.

..right..it’s that Jules goes into the vortex..and he comes out (in certain ways)..so her being stuck in Dayton is a good thing..for her theatre..for her job..even though she hates it and there’s better theatre in NYC..idk..somehow even though she saves him and causes him to leave..I want her stuck there..

..

Jules’s theatre underused?  I was going to play it up at that location, in my original plan..

::HARD’s query letter

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I sent this to a few people the other day.  Contrary to some opinion, I don’t believe it should take longer to write a 1-page query letter than it takes to write a 300-page book.  I wrote this in one day.  Hopefully it sells the book.  -MT

Dear X,

Love isn’t easy.  And nothing comes easy for Matthew and Jules.  He’s a bored programmer.  She’s a lonely actor.  They’re both insane.  But they’re perfect for each other, and they find each other, and love each other, and ultimately lose each other in this literary fiction, complete at 110,000 words.

His demon is his friends.  Her demon is an eating disorder.  Neither can hold on to the other.  Can he help her stay in the world?  He’s found a way to live real life—she has not.  She’s found a connection to the spirit, to energy, to a truth and a truer way to be.  They meditate.  They try drugs.  They do everything they can to hold on to each other, but nothing works.

In the end, she has left her mark indelibly on him, and he has left her, and they will never be together but they will never be unchanged.  No one’s life continues on its old path.  One dies, the other finds a new way to live.  This is a story of love, of obsession, of being stuck and of moving on.

I’ve shared chapters with writer peers and am doing a limited query now.  I’m Matthew Temple, author of five books and a number of screenplays and stage plays.  I invented some types of cellular automata (a math system) and am a pioneer in the field of cultural evolutionary search (a type of artificial intelligence).  I sell my books online, but am looking for an agent to work with, to help promote my work to corporate publishers.  I have an ever-growing following on the web.  My website (clownfysh.com) and twitter account have been ways that I’ve promoted my work thus far.

Please browse the samples I have online (all of my work is available free w/ coupon this month only, through my website), and consider whether we might be able to work together to place my work with a larger audience.

Thank you,

Matthew Temple

http://clownfysh.com/hard

::HARD outline

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This is the outline I wrote ::HARD from.  When I had this amount of structure/idea, I decided I could start writing the text.  Every day I wrote something from here, modifying as I went.  Some things I disregarded completely..some I used verbatim, as sentences in the book.  -MT

::HARD

Matthew Temple

has become someone who is trying to erase himself

him growing up as an artist in high school, cutting class, doing video projects with erica, where he touched erica’s breasts

with erica and her telling him about the next door neighbor being a murderer, they’re pretty sure that guy killed somebody

driving his old girl, the freak who becomes the square, to her college graduation, (sleeping with her in his dad’s attic?), she breaks up with him after she graduates—she maybe just needed a ride—fucking her when her cheeks get red and she just lets him do anything he wants, for as long as he wants, then they go to sushi dinner and she tells him about natural parenting techniques

old party

him liking to dress up in women’s clothing

breaking up with last girlfriend

the first time he ever smoked pot, with the new people, the freaks

having sex with crro while last girlfriend stands outside banging on the door, hysterically afraid of spiders

sex with crro and coke in her parents house, fucking her when she’s sick, wanting to take her car and leave while in the park with her that night..not caring about the law, not caring about people anymore, just wanting to get out, but not doing it

he is bored, bored of his friends, they say the same things over and over

it’s obvious what they want :: they don’t do anything new :: they’re squeamish

me and beth decide to bring back the word cunt

he meets this new one for the first time

the house of transformation, the foursome (pairs) at the east dayton house after the old party..one girlfriend throwing up in the front bathroom, the other throwing up in the back

he meets up with a new friend, z-friend, who likes ashley

the divorce events from friends on the floor of the naughty

he goes on a journey with his friend, they see themselves from outer space

see the earth, know they have sent themselves down into it

his new friends come and see him at work

they have a little picnic

he works with squares :: these people are freaks

they bring a candle to put on his desk

maybe he manages a call center, maybe keep it closer to home and make him a programmer

meeting her..he’s doing the sets for the show she’s in?

or keep it closer to home and she’s a student, he’s a fledgling writer?

or make her an actor, him a painter with a day job?

their first date, the terrible one

shakes at a diner

still having sex with the last girlfriend after having met the new one

and after introducing the old one to the z friend..that old-pair thing that woody allen does so well in everybody says I love you

and the z friend has no place to go, and stays with him, and wonders if he is gay, but he says he’s not

the z friend talking about his brother and sister who are incestuous, he’s embarrassed for his family to know anything about him, his failures, his pride :: you should always know your seventh deadly sin

..

when he goes to pick her up at her theatre

finding her sitting on a bench, counseling someone she just met, and loving the one who loves the world, loving the one who is saving starfish

meeting at the club

free drinks from the bartender friend

passing out glow sticks en masse

smack my bitch up

ecstasy in the trunk of the car out front

the kiss afterward

the old one coming over and the new one being there

the new one being upset that the old one just shows up

the new one loving his women’s clothing, loving his colors, her stealing his clothes to wear, him loving that, her coming over to wash clothes at his house and her feeling uncomfortable about having no money but him loving that he can help her, let her do laundry, buy her breakfast, etc.

what she loves are connected people, meditated people

she is disconnected, alone, everything is shallow to her

her little brother died of ecstasy, at a dance club, at a rave, at a party, overheated

yet she is a magician :: and he is hers

the magician for the magician

the one who brightens the eyes of the one who brightens eyes

eating on the slanted roof at his house

she has found him, he is the one and the only great thing in her life right now

and the same is true for him

he texts her asking her how are things?

she says “::HARD”?

but when they get up and dance :: the whole world gets up to dance :: they turn the drab into the rainbow

her demon is an eating disorder

she loves that he loves food

she over-exercises

he falls in love with her but can’t deal with her demons, her demons are the crime that gets between them, that he ignores to be with her

and ultimately she leaves him

who loves who the most :: who will leave who first? :: which would you rather be, the one more in love, or the one more loved?

she does cocaine, it dovetails with her eating/exercise disorder

his demon is his friends

she hates his friends

guys who listen to icp-type and shoot bullets through walls

who murder their own children in the country lake

who smoke pot constantly

and he who drinks

and does other drugs

z gets together with a woman, he’s worried that she’ll die from her motorcycle (base her off that girl in LA)

the new one freaking out at me in a parking lot about having done heroin

at first you see her point of view

then it’s indicated that she’s just acting, that mainly she’s trying to get what she wants :: that mainly she’s trying to control something

his father comes to visit

they get along great :: and have nothing in common

the son leaves his father sleeping on the floor to go to warehouse party

she’s a virgin, they change clothes in different rooms, she leaves pretty little notes around, but they get hot and hard

she considers him the divine master :: divine master god

he feels awkward at meditating, she does it for her acting, but somehow, he is the one who’s in tune, he is the one who’s connected

when he comes back, having not slept, the father is masturbating

sleeping with her on the warehouse roof

waking up, seeing her face in the sunlight

she plays her music for him

..

his old g/f a freak from antioch becomes a square, square job, buys a house, gets remarried to her ex, starts going to church, won’t talk to any of them, and she’s having a baby

and z accidentally kills someone on his girl’s motorcycle, hits a pedestrian, and he goes to jail :: he calls me, I meet him in the cemetery, he’s looking at his g/f’s mother’s grave, or maybe they’re at the funeral of the (better, yes) they’re at the funeral of the boy he killed, and that’s when z tells him what happened, and then he has m [him] drive him [z] to the police station, and he won’t let him come in, he just makes him drop him off and say goodbye, promise not to tell anyone where he is, etc.

[he] is shaken

breaking off the friendship with the old one

she has been eclipsed

he can’t even be the old one’s friend anymore

he stops h because of her

and goes to a new job interview, high, and gets the job

he might be committing to the business world—at least more $$

dressing each other up in masks

seeing each other in various light

being with a stranger, do I even know you?  is this who I found?

they’re planning the ultimate party

which never happens

then she asks him if he wants to do H with her

she wanted to leave

she wanted to leave her body

she imagined that if she thought about it in the right way, she would disappear

go back to the universe, see herself from outside

and as much as he doesn’t want it, he is the one who ushers her out

a most perfect usher, for a most intense passing

and he has gone into the darkness, to find the light

only there were the secrets he wanted, that is why he sent himself to earth

to go into the darkness of humankind

because there and there alone is light, is breath

only there can breath be gotten, found

he went to earth to remind himself, he went to the darkness to remind himself

of love, of what’s been lost, of some truth about who we are

that we had forgotten

him thinking of leaving his whole life, when she dies, of leaving, just like he thought of it earlier with crro/coke, but he doesn’t do it, he stays to face the music

..

that idiotic conversation with erica about “making it right” in the parking lot

..

her clothes still being in the dryer

sitting in the parking lot at an atm, listening to her song

empty parking lot, 10am, late for work and had to be

what are you going to do now?

but he has the realization :: of what reality do you want to be creating in this moment, he has the light, so bright it’s vacant and hurts, he has the light found from sending himself into such darkness

and maybe even having found so much light that he doesn’t know what to do with it :: counter-impose, through the story, a coming-to-light in terms of the character’s mentality, with a coming-to-darkness in the character’s outward world

and in the narration in the end, foreshadow that the future gets worse..that [z] gets out early but then hangs himself, that I would get a call at work about this later in the week and find myself sleeping with z’s g/f out of lonliness, etc. etc. etc…

(she has a pure, seeking heart..when she sees someone, he thinks the person is a transvestite..she just noticed that they were dressed nicely)

More junk text I threw away before starting ::HARD

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Here’s about 6,000 more words of abortive text that I wrote before starting on the text that became ::HARD.  There’s stuff in here that could be worked into a story, but probably I’ll just leave it here, as what was needed to get me to where I needed to get to, to write ::HARD.  There’s personal notes in here, title ideas, etc.  I’m just leaving them in, I don’t think I care how my raw text is judged anymore.  A great thing about being depressed..I don’t feel scared because the last couple of days I don’t really give a fuck.  -MT

input{standard}

input{paper_5x8}

def cfauthor{Matthew Temple}

def cftitle{C i r q u e}

def cfyear {2011}

def cfid {[unpublished]}

def cfcredit {[none]}

begin{document}

input{title}

input{info}

[1.5in]

begin{quote}

{large {bf cirque}} |s…ôrk| emph{noun}

{small (late 17th century, from French, from Latin)}

{bf 1} circus

{bf 2} a ring, circlet, or circle

end{quote}

newpage

part*{1}

chapter*{How I Met the Dawn}

pagestyle{plain}

textsc{I didn’t go looking for her.  Not specifically.}

She came to my audition, so certainly I was looking for emph{someone}.

I just didn’t know who.

cfsection

I was making plays.  Big plays.  I wanted the biggest plays possible.

Like, if I had a cast, I wanted the most people in it.  If the script called for “some diners at a restaurant” I figured “some” meant thirty.  They’ve got to stay in business, right?

Or let’s say you were doing The Seagull.  It’s a depressing play—doubt me?  I figure if people are paying $50 a seat to watch some depressing fucking Chekov, they deserve a show.

Most directors will throw Checkov at you in a single-story house.

Which is no good.

People have no emph{imagination} when they read these scripts!

If the script says: she enters the living room, most people’s minds jump straight to: emph{single-story house}.  Why?  What if it’s: she slides down a candy-colored barber pole into the living room.  That’s better.  Or: backwards, with her eyes closed, she mounts the polished cherry banisher of the main stair, spirals down the twisted railing and emph{flips!} into her father’s recliner, landing next to an open book without disturbing its pages.  Or no: maybe she catches the book.  Someone tosses it to her.  emph{Now} we’re talking.

cfsection

I needed someone who could handle that sort of thing.  She needed to be acrobatic.  It would emph{help} if she spoke French.  French was a nice-to-have.

When I direct, I improvise.  Like I might say: do that scene in French.  From the top.

You need versatility.

The audition is a microcosm of the rehearsal.  Rehearsal is a microcosm of the play.  emph{The play}ldots is a microcosm of life.  But that’s theory.  We don’t have time for theory.

This girl was going to have to beldots wellldots

cfsection

“Special.”

“Amazing.”

“Amazingly special.”

“Extraordinary.”

“Extraordinarily especially amazing.”

“Nothing less.  I’m serious.”

“I know.”

“I’m serious, Ace.  This girl has got to be—”

“Ridiculous, I know.”

“How’d you know I was going to say ridiculous?”

Ace is my partner.  He can read my mind.

That’s emph{why} Ace is my partner.

cfsection

“Do you even know what play you’re doing?”

“No.  Don’t bother me with details.”

“Do you want to see the next girl?”

“Yes.  Bring her in.  What number is this?”

“This is number sixty-two.”

“She looks like a Sharon.  No—she looks like aldots Karen?”

“Anne.”

“With an E?”

Ace nods.

I peek at the clipboard.  “What are her special skills?“

Ace points to a spot on the paper.  “Welcome, Ms. Haines.  If you’ll stand in the middle of our stage, our director will be with you in emph{just} a second.”

Ms. Haines nods.  Little fingers cover her mouth for a cough.

“Don’t you think it would have been better with an A?”

“What?”

“Anna Haines.  If it’s emph{Anne} it just runs together.  Anne Haines.  emph{Anna} Haines.  Don’t you think that’s better?”

“You want me ask her to change her name?”

I return the clipboard.  “No, Ace.  It’s too late now.“

cfsection

“Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you Ms. Rappaport.  Thank you Ms. Haines.  Thank you Ms. Taliaferro.  Thank you.”  Thank you all.  “That will be all.  Thank you for coming.  Do we have this stage tomorrow?“

“No.”

“Here’s what I want you to do.  Find us a stage first of all.  Put up a casting notice that says: `Here lies Badger Fox.’  That’s in capitals.  Badger Fox.  Prepare a six minute monologue reciting the eulogy of Badger Fox, as the Fox’s sister—no, yeah, sister—funeral attire, makeup, and tell them to wear emph{shoes} that are believable in a funeral setting.  Post it.”

“That’s it?”

“Here lies Badger Fox.”

cfsection

“Does it ever occur to you that you’re in the wrong business?”  This is Ace, to me, over lunch.

I fold my napkin and put it on the table.  “What business do you think would be the right business?“

“I can’t think of one,” he says.  “For you: no.  I don’t know.“  He shakes his head and goes for another bite of the shrimp.  He’s twirling linguini on his fork.  “I’m pretty sure this is the wrong one for you, though.”

cfsection

All I want is to make a beautiful play.  I want to make the best play possible.  I want someone to sit in that front row and look up at the stage and I want that person to have an open heart—I want them to be impressionable—and I want that person to watch this play that someone else wrote, with the blood of their years—all the effort they had!—and I want to make that play come off that page and I want it in lights and with movement and singing and the occasional spiral staircase and I want that person sitting in the front row to say “wow.”

That’s all I want, Ace.

This is the best business I know to be in.

cfsection

“Number eighty-one.”

“Sara.  Sara Feld.  Thank you for coming today.  How are you?  Excellent.  Let’s hear your monologue.  Braere Fox.”

“I prepared forldots”

“What’s that?”

“I prepared for emph{Badger} Fox.”

“What did I say?”

cfsection

“Thank you Ms. Feld.  She had nice shoes.”

“You wanna do more?”

“Ace, what business are we in?”

“The play-producing business?”

“Yes but I mean emph{today}.  What business are we in emph{today}?”

“The listening-to-monologues business?”

“That’s right.”

“But what’s the point if you never find anyone?”

“The point,” I say, “is that we’re looking.”

cfsection

“What does this girl have to be again?”

“Fridonkulous.”

“What else.”

“Remazing.”

“What else!”  I stand.  “Bring in number eighty—what are we on?“

“This is one-hundred and eight.”

“Bring in number one-hundred and eight!  Show yourself, sweet!  Take the center stage.  We are looking for—you may have heard—my partner and I are looking for someone who is—”

“Splashtacular.”

“Also—”

“Ouchtopulous.”

“Ace, please.  Forgive my partner.  We’ve been here a long time.  What we need is someone who can work with us on this play and many others.  We need someone we can work with throughout theory, throughout practice; we need someone we can work with throughout production, throughout breakldots”

“What play are you doing right now?”

“What?”

“What current play am I actually auditioning for?”

I look at Ace.

Ace looks at me.

“Thank you, Msldots”

“It’s Harris.”

“Thank you, Ms. Harris.”

cfsection

“Are we too young to retire?”

“Yes.”

“Are we rich enough to retire?  Could we make it?”

Ace says: “I could.”

I laugh.  “I guess you’re stuck with me a while longer.“

cfsection

“Maybe you could have them just do emph{half} the monologue.”

“Ace.  If someone prepares a six minute monologue I’m at least giving them a chance to do the whole thing.”

Ace whispers: “This one sucks.”

“Shhh!”  I say.  I’m peering over the seat.  “She might get better.“

cfsection

It took us six weeks.

We never found our girl—it took us six weeks to decide we were crazy.

I decided for both of us.

The closest we came was a young woman named Kelsey Dawn.

Kelsey was number five-hundred ninety-eight.

We weren’t doing Badger Fox monologues anymore.  By week six we had moved on to round-robin improvisation based on Deepak Chopra meditations.  It was very complicated.  Honestly I just want to see if people will take direction.

Kelsey could sing.  She had a nice voice.  She was trained.  Kelsey took direction.  It was maddening to pull the plug, because Kelsey Dawn was close.  But she didn’t have that spark.

“I’m calling it, Ace.”

“Heads or tails?”

“Tails.”

“What!?”  He stamped around the back row of the auditorium—like an angry kid that had to pee.  Then he put his hands on the back of a chair.  “Tails.“

“You gonna be ok?”

“You’re the director.”  That’s all he said.

cfsection

Kelsey Dawn was amazing, by normal standards.  She has popstar-level skills.  Even Broadway-level skills.  She was a little too old, maybe.  We wanted someone we could work with for a career, ten years or so.  Kelsey’s age wasn’t the show-stopper, though.  There wasn’t really a show stopper.  Not that I could put my finger on.

Ace disagreed.  He thought Kelsey Dawn was perfect.

“You won’t emph{find} another girl like this.”

“You’re right.”

“I mean in emph{years}.”

“You’re right.”

“What is the emph{problem}, then?”

“It’s justldots”

“Don’t say it.”

I didn’t say it.  Ace can read my mind, remember?  She lackedldots Ace hated when I said thisldots but she lackedldots that certain emph{je ne sais quoi}.

“You’re killing me.”

“Sorry, Ace.”

“You know, I think I could direct.”

“You should.  You have my every encouragement.”

“Do you really think she lacks it?”

“She does.”

emph{Exactly how much emph{je ne sais quoi} does a person need to have?}  That’s what Ace was thinking (our link goes both ways).  emph{To be right for this partldots there isn’t even a emph{part}!  What am I doing with this bozoldots this maniac!  emph{I} could direct.}

“emph{You} could direct,” I say.

Ace shakes his head.

“I’ll switch you hats.”

His head is still shaking.

“You take the whip.  I’ll take the reigns.  I could do financialldots”

Ace is emph{really} shaking his head.  “No, no, no,“ he says.

“You do art,” I suggest, “I can handle the numbers.  You want this one?  What’s her name?  Chelsea—”

“Dawn.  And it’s fucking Kelsey.  And if you handled the numbers we’d be broke within a week.”

“You want Kelsey, I’ll call her back.  She’s probably still outside.  You want her?”

“No!” Ace says.

No.  Because if Ace directed—if Ace took the whip—we’d be sunk just as deep as if I took the reigns.

cfsection

Ace and I weren’t speaking.  We take these little half-an-hour breaks from each other sometimes.  Usually about once every three or four days.  It saves the friendship.

We were in the elevator.

I was thinking about when Ace and I met.  It was in this burger place, about a block from here, called Diablo.  They have a Kobe burger with this spicy orange sauce—it’s ridiculous.  And I always liked to go there and have that burger, and I always used to eat alone.  They have those no-stem wine glasses I like and this wine that’s called Consilienceldots or Crescendoldots or something.  I can never remember, but it’s this epic name.

The place isn’t classy.  You stand in line like a cafeteria to get your food.  Lunch is like 20 to 40 dollars.  They’ve got big windows.  I always sit by the window.  You can look out and see Hollywood.

So I’m in line and there’s this fat fucking guy with a yamaka next to me, and he’s dropping his napkin and dropping his emph{fork} and leaning down to get it and this guy’s shirt is untucked from around his fat belly and when I say fat I’m talking I couldn’t put my emph{arms} around him, even if I had three arms.

I was wearing my Mets cap and I used to really hate when Jewish people wore yamakas in public—I mean really hate it.  You’re standing in line next to some Hasid in Costco and he’s in full garb—full beard, robe to his ankles, emph{sandals}—and yet this guy is talking on his emph{cell phone}.  Latest model.  High-tech everything.  And yet somehow he’s so emph{disconnected} from society that he’s not allowed to cut his hair.

So I’m at Diablo and this fat fucking guy is bending down to get his fork and, you know, I can see his emph{underwear} when he bends, so I’m just like “Nice hat” and Ace, quick as a whip, says, “Wanna trade?”

I stopped making fun of Jewish people after that.

Because Ace takes his yamaka off his head and he holds it out to me in the Diablo food line.

I took off my Mets cap.

We traded hats.  And that’s the last time we’ve ever traded hats, and the last time we’re ever going to.

This is what I’m thinking about in the elevator on the way down to the street after our audition with Kelsey Dawn, my partner standing next to me, both of us silent.

I don’t know what Ace was thinking about.  I can’t read his mind emph{that} well.

cfsection

Sure enough Kelsey Dawn was still outside.

She was waiting for her sister.

Kelsey had parked her car in a delivery zone across the street, on Sunset.  Kelsey’s little sister, Rachel, was waiting for her, with the car.

This is Sunset Boulevard.  Mid-day, maybe three o’clock.  Not the best time to park your car in a tow-away zone.

fz

..

[and when she does it, it has to be amazing, just past realism..the details about how she weaves the car, how she listens, and etc, however she does it, however she pulls it off]

[and the point is that somewhere in here, this guy falls in love with this girl just like I fell in love once, at just such an audition, in every way, needing to get to know someone better, to connect with them, over every boundary and in spite of every negative]

[Rachel takes off her sunglasses and I see that characteristic gone-ness of the eyes]

[she has two different colored eyes..*and* she’s blind..it must be an omen]

[Ace isn’t paying attention]

“Well, this has been a momentus day.”

“Oh yeah, real momentus.”

[why]

[because, we just saw a blind girl make a u-turn across Hollywood Boulevard]

That is how I met Rachel Dawn—and without Rachel Dawn, I wouldn’t be telling you this story, because without her there would be no story to tell.

chapter*{..}

See that was all bullshit.  I just fancied myself a director.

I had never directed plays.  I had written them.  Never had any produced.  Maybe that was what I wanted to happen.

Maybe it was what was emph{going} to happen.

..

cfsection

[idea of a director being the ultimate audience member..lay out the theme/idea that this is what directors do..find something to love, and love it right out of its ordinaryness, into stardom]

cfsection

I didn’t see her for a long time after.

..

cfsection

[a section, much later, where we show, comically, that I am still wearing the yamaka and Ace is still wearing the Mets cap—a description of the two of us as misfits, with this as a key supporting factor]

[we can continue to use this..I can examine my new hat, the yamaka, as a symbol of my partner, of the other side of the economic/artistic coin, as a reminder of how long they’ve been together and how entwined they are]

[ultimately, perhaps, it’s even more a story about their friendship, than it is about a specific love]

cfsection

[when he does meet her, to talk about the circus, he asks her what she can do.  do you know French?  can you sing?  she can’t do anything]

cfsection

[[build each section until it’s a unit, a story, whether 3 pages or 30, 30 pages or 300, cycle around a section until that section is a tent, an act, a story, a unit, a whole..then move on]]

[Outside, I was chatting with Kelsey Dawn .. and he sees her sister for the first time]

[and what he sees is a blind girl juggling..or a girl juggling..then he realizes that she’s blind..and that was the day that changed his life]

[or he sees her do some acrobatics in the street..she avoids danger, saves her sister, or saves her little brother who went into the street..then he sees that the one who did this fantastic feat..is blind..then later he trains her to juggle, etc..?]

[maybe he just sees her catch the car keys that Kelsey throws her way..so that the little sister can get something from the car..maybe something simple like that]

[maybe she crosses the street and moves the car out of a tow-away zone..then he sees that she’s blind]

[pace it right, by writing it in order and taking the right amount of time to get there, with each move, with each story, with each section, with each interchange, with each line, with each word; then edit later, remove stories, do smoothing of an already-smoothed, already mostly ordered, already paced thing]

[xx >> maybe not this..he’s not a subservient partner, he’s a business guy with equal standing, but one handles the artistic side and one handles the .. logistical side << maybe look @ the section where he tells him to post the audition]

We’ll do another play next year.  We don’t have to do one every year.  We want to make emph{good} plays, not emph{lots of plays}.  Ace makes the same amount of money either way.  I need help all year round.  But it’s more exciting for him when we’re emph{doing stuff}.  Like, emph{real stuff}, not just house maintenance and research.  I guess it is for me, too.

cfsection

[and make Rachel and I care about the circus in entirely different ways..have us be at odds there, in terms of objective]

cfsection

[show what the Dawn family is like..how someones like Kelsey and Rachel could have come to exist..recollection of having met the family]

cfsection

[someday, there’s a non tongue-in-cheek mindreading that Ace does, that plays centrally to the story]

cfsection

[Ace wants to be made full partner, above the line.  They do it.]

[or: at some point Ace, who normally takes a back seat on artistic issues, makes an artistic decision he feels strongly about, and the director goes along with it, backs Ace up on Ace’s artistic path]

cfsection

textsc{Silence silenced silence.}

Noise drowned out noise.  What was quiet, once, was made to sing.  What, before, deafened me, was put to rest.

I found my tears as notes.  Nothing of a chord.  Each one played enemy to the next, grating.

I tried to make them play together, figuring that, if I had to cry, it was best that each of my sad songs worked together—at least, in sadness, I’d have harmony.

That’s not what happened.

They wouldn’t be conducted.

They wouldn’t lie down.

They tangled, and they rose, and they bit me in my sleep.

Do you ever have one of those tricky dreams where the dream is so real that there’s no way there could really be a dream like that?  A dream that’s so unemph{dream}like—like a dream that you’re putting gas in your car, or a dream that your next door neighbor comes over to borrow an egg.  How do you know it’s a dream when there isn’t enough fantastical about it to let you know it’s a dream?

You might dream of a giant snake in the forest.  You were hunting it, you and three friends.  When you found her she was sleeping, as tall as a house.  When you wake from that dream you say to yourself: what a dream!  What a pretty snake!  I don’t hunt snakes.  And a snake could never be as tall as a house.

But what if you dream that your sister died?  You get a call from Mom.  Your sister was in a car accident.  Her husband is fine.  The baby wasn’t with them.  Your sister didn’t make it.  You hang up the phone.  When you wake up from that dream, what do you tell yourself?  What kind of conversation do you have with yourself?  You of course call your sister, when you wake.  You say you’re calling just to say `hi’.  You don’t tell her about the dream.  You check to make sure she’s still alive.  You know when you wake, it’s just a dream.  But you can’t tell yourself that that emph{couldn’t} have happened.  You can only tell yourself that it didn’t.

And sometimes it does happen.

Sometimes you do get that call.  Your sister died.

Usually when you slip you catch yourself.  Sometimes you slip and break your neck.  And that’s it.  You’re dead.

Real life has no foreshadowing.

cfsection

My sad songs came in threes, in perfect fairytale form.  At least if you waited long enough, they did.  Eventually something new happens to round it out.  I could tell you about the time our little brother died when he went away to college—because that really did happen.  I could tell you about riding the Greyhound from Erie, Pennsylvania to Mesa, Arizona, and running out of money, and sleeping in all my clothes under the canopy of the Exxon station.  Because that really happened too.

But we don’t have time for that.

There are only 12 hours in the day, and 12 hours in the night, and I don’t know how many days I can take of yours, telling you sad songs, before you go to dream.

My daughter used to do this thing when she played with her dolls.  She’d set them in her lap and she’d smooth their hair.  She’d get them all arranged.  And she’d look down at them and she’d say—it was storytime—she’d say: “Now I’m going to tell you a happy story and a sad story.  This is the sad story.”

cfsection

And if I set you up as dolls.  If I arranged you.  If I took you in my lap.

You might look at each other.

I would smooth your hair.

We might hold hands.

We might sing ourselves a song.  You might start.  I’d join in.

You’d sing a verse.  It would ring my ears.  Something of your story would find me, would pierce me.  Your green eye.  Your grey one.  I think they see me differently.  Because they’re different colors.  Each a new lense into a different part of me.

Maybe.

Or maybe they turned colors because of different parts of me.  One gray.  One green.  Maybe what you’re looking at—perhaps the world you see—it can’t be seen with a single eye, with a single color.

Your green eye eats spinach.  Your grey one eats coals.

Your green eye is a vegetarian.  Your gray eye doesn’t eat at all.  Your green eye sits on a park bench listening to a stranger’s stories.  The grey one doesn’t say a thing.  The grey one locks herself in closets for hours, without her phone.  Doesn’t check messages.  When she comes back, doesn’t listen to what was said.  Deletes every one, doesn’t miss a word, doesn’t care.  The grey one stops me in parking lots for hours to argue, about nothing.

The grey one blames me.

The green one apologizes later.

The green one sings me to sleep.

She is gently filling holes.

She is the one who comes like christmas, who never looks away.  She’s the one who left a note on my pillow, who children in parks mistake for angels.  Who adults hate.  Adults hate the green one.  They love the grey one.  The grey one is more like them.  Adults can discount the grey you; they can relate.  The green one stumps them.  The green one is a mystery, because the green one never stoops to that level.  It can’t.  Not even if she wanted to, because she has not legs or knees or feet—only wings.  And I know that those children in the park were not mistaken.  They knew what they saw.

..

The grey one spurned me for a week.

..

The green one came like christmas.  Slowly, over a month, and then all lit up, opened with mad hands and paper torn, out of the box, breathing free.

..

The green one opened her presents alone that night, under the covers, without me.

..

The grey one said nothing.  She shot me that cultivated look.  You burn like ice.

..

[might cut this up even more, pepper a Vesuvius sentence after an interchange..]

The grey one was coy; the green one, never.  The grey one might hide; green had nothing to fear.  Green would shock you naked, touch you with frankness, wide-eyed.  With green you had nothing to say; she would lay you bare.  With grey you could never win an argument; with green you could never start one.  Green was molten glass.  Grey was cinder.  Green, a forest; gray, a volcano.  Green may have been Mt. St. Helen but grey was straight Vesivius.  .  I think the grey one had a crush on the green one.

cfsection

“You can’t write a poem to save your life.  And you are speaking to a poem.”

“You don’t even write.”

“I didn’t say I emph{write} poetry.  I said I emph{am a} poem.”

And that girl might be.  She might be.

“I don’t like this grey you.  I miss the green you.”

“What are you talking about?”

“I—”

“Oh no I get it.  I get it.  But see the thing is, you don’t know the grey me from the green me on a cloudy day.  Not a pinch.  Not a slice.  Not a single pepperoni.  You had the green me, once.  Before you got to know me.  I was more green then.”

“I liked it.”

“You liking me emph{makes} me grey.  You can’t ever really emph{be} with the green me.  Should I go on?  The—whatever color you are—that color—mixed with green—emph{makes me} grey.  So that’s all you—” she turns “—get.”  She grabs her hat.  The monkey.  She let’s me close the door.

cfsection

Canopy hat.  Gypsy shoes.  Our circus was complete!  The cost—who cares the cost!  When I see that dancing elf—the highwire pea!—taking impossible and turning her on her head!  When I see danger tossed in the air—a coin!  I know that every penny spent to make this was worth the letting go.

I might have known!  But how can you.  A bear who can juggle scarves—who knew!  That anyone could juggle scarves—what a thought!  I’d go to chainsaws, first.  A bear who juggles emph{chainsaws}, now that’s the attraction.  Now I see the silk descending—thread floating on air!—chainsaws are passe.

..

Have you ever seen a thread—a single silver, waxy thread—fall from the height of five stories—in spotlight—born on atoms!  On atoms of air!  Falling five stories with such grace (you or I could never manage it).

We’d go too fast.  That would be our problem.  If we tried it.  If we tried falling five stories, we’d mess it up.  Break things.  Too clumsy.  Not a friend of air.

cfsection

There was breath without air, there was the motion of eating—but never nourishment.  I could sit in a room for hours, drink sixteen cups of coffee—never feel a thing.  We might have had a conversation.  I wouldn’t remember it.  I could be speaking.  You would see my face move.  I’d even smile, but I’d never look you in the eye.  Those eyes were tracked away forever, checked out; those eyes are only for me now.  No one else gets to see them, because no one else would understand.  I could look at you, but what would be the point.  You don’t know me.  You never did.  Everything we said?  Everything we did?  Nothing.  It was.  It was nothing.  It may have emph{seemed} like something—and to you I’m sure it did.  But it was nothing, there was no emph{deepness} to it, there was no emph{substance} to it, no molecules, nothing to emph{satisfy} you.  Or.  Well.  Maybe it did satisfy you.  But it didn’t satisfy me.

I didn’t find enough to eat, so somewhere in there my eyes became my own.  They were never shared anyway.  We were just pretending.

Pretending is fun for the young.  It’s enough.  There’s enough meat in your made-up realities that you can light your eyes on it.  You’re either playing the game (believing in it) or you’re just past that (in the place where you know it’s silly but you do it anyway).  Or you just stop playing.

When you see my eyes someplace else, but my mouth is still moving, that’s where I’ve gone.  I’m done.  I’m done.  These eyes don’t play anymore.

Sometimes play isn’t play anymore—it isn’t fun.  There’s no more gravity to build houses upon, to rest our buildings.  You can either keep building things that fall down, or you can stop building altogether.

I think when I was done with you, I had nothing left.

cfsection

[letting ecstasy come over you, learning to do that when sober, learning to let ecstasy come upon you, to release the chemicals from your brain that give you chills, just from your thoughts, and just from letting them]

cfsection

[the irony of foreshadowing..it is a story about someone’s sister, someone’s brother, who went off to college and died..we said earlier that real life doesn’t have foreshadowing..=)..this isn’t real life]

cfsection

[a chapter, a unit, which is the entire performance of the circus, front stage, backstage, audience, an entire performance..that’s a hard piece of writing, and it will be a beautiful one if I can pull it off]

chapter*{}

..

cfsection

..

part*{Notes}

chapter*{}

cfsection

..

cfsection

..

cfsection

..

cfsection

[Ace and I go separate ways, even though we know we’ll sink, we decide to]

cfsection

..

City, fugue, and steam.

There might have been a crumble.  There might have been sand.

There might have been a voice.

One set of notes, hung together on a shard.  Having something in common with each other, together yesterdays, afternoons in the sun, two or three points along a line.  There might have been mystery in shadow, there may have been a patch of light.  Your fingers might have graced it, dripped in loudness, splashing touch in a puddle of concrete, craters dug below the tracks.

Before there was voice there was silence.  Silence was voiced.  That was the loudest note yet played, and its playing needed silence.

cfsection

Work on this for as long as I like, until I’m done and done.  Take years.  There’s no hurry.  Take my time.  It’s not about getting it out there.  It’s about me doing what I do.

Make it a slam-dunk.  Make it complete.

resembling an organ

showboats and traveling fairs

the Muse of epic poetry

having a beautiful voice

about one who has a beautiful voice

but is hoarse at first

one who has to find the notes

a story of going from the darkness to the light

don’t forget the epic poetry part of Calliope..make this epic poetry

like Morte Darthur, Once and Future King, the other epics..heroes..tragedy..triumph..is it possible to do such a story with a contemporary landscape? I think it probably is..but the landscape is definitely a part that needs to be looked at, that needs to be arranged, such that heroes can exist..and epics

(do fewer things, better)

two part story: a guy (me in Dayton) living that partyish life

and: his dream, which is the bulk of the story, it’s how he sees himself, his world, and that is the circus, calliope

in real life, RML dies

in the dream, one of the circus performers dies on opening night of the most fantastic circus ever created

we know the circus dream part of the story (the major portion of it) is an analogue for the real-life stuff, and it’s clear how..so the reader gets to experience reality, a dark, bleak, gritty reality through the wonderful, delusional, heightened fantasies / dreams of the dreamer .. of the main character and narrator

in real life, it’s an ambulance at the house, standard tragedy

in the dream, it’s a spindle of silver thread, the center of the story, falling, the performer jumping off her trapeze, swimming down through gravity, to touch it

about someone who wants to create a circus

to find his voice

and he does, and its beauty is terrible

terrifying

it is the most beautiful thing in the world

and it contains the most terrible

and in real life, there is some redemption, or at least recovery, healing, of the ringmaster, as he moves on, as he pays for his crimes with guilt and time

and in the circus world, there is the ringmaster sweeping up the stage after his performer, after her death on that stage, and he picks up the piece of hair, her hair, the thread that held it all together..the end

(once the tragedy happens, perhaps, the balance of fantasy to reality, in the story, switches, so that we’re mostly, or all, in reality, the dark reality of showing up at emergency rooms, drinking, looking for people who are not there)..then at the very end, we get a breath of the color, of the circus life, again

what if the good became legendary, and the legend became the good

what if everything I asked for I got 1000x, and 1000x was too much?

that, when you write, when you work, should be what you are working for

the conversations about publication are nothing, meaningless ..

work for singular greatness, work for nothing short of full genius

work for something beyond human understanding, nothing less than that

be driven by something that is too much to even comprehend

not normal goals, not even human goals; work for something truly breathed

work for gods, for devils, not for men, not for women, not for childs

work for towering flames, volcano-fires, work for divinities, and their court

nothing less, not for those who even breathe this air..but for they who breathe fire

..right. make your audience the gods and the devils themselves

if your show is not right for an audience of two: the highest god and the lowest devil

then it is not suitable for anyone.

that is who to aim your show to..to the most diabolical, to the most divine

make them happy in their seats, and you will be doing your job

maybe the character meets the embodiment of his ideal audience members..there are two of them..the god and the devil..the god is a woman, she’s the angel..the devil is a man..he is the devil..and those are his two, competing, most prime customers..they compete with each other in the society for clout, and their types just compete with each other by their dispositions

there’s this musician I like, Ken Medema, he’s blind, he’s in the darkness in a literal way, and he sings this powerful music, I mean when he sings, when he plays the piano, he brings down the bricks in the house; I’ve been seeing him since I was a kid, because he played at conferences our family went to, and I saw him as an adult, this last year, and it stuck me, how much more deeply this guy most be in worlds of his own, than I am, given that he cannot see. when he travels, he has a disconnection from the world that is right around him, that is profound. and it hit me, and I went up to him after the concert and whispered in his ear my impression of watching him sing, in these church cathedrals of arched ceilings and hundreds of people, with stained glass windows and rays of sun streaming in..that, even though this guy is blind..*the light is coming through him* .. it’s coming through him, he is the one inspiring all of us who can see, showing us the light, and I am coming to think that it is *only* people from the darkness who can show the light to those who see..that that is not a job that can be done by those who are solely from the light

A blind tightrope walker?

that’s who he falls in love with?

Cirque..and the circle is that, through this tragedy, through his loss, he becomes the person who *someone else* can fall in love with, can become inspired by

describe smoke, the act of lighting a flame

write for the highest god and the lowest devil

make them happy, both

two parts..the darkness..and the light..the first part has to be about coming from lightness to darkness, and the second about coming from darkness to light

the charlie rose dreamer theory?

wearing ducky gear and umbrellas in the production office

how I became weird

the baffled king: who spends a lifetime instituting controls and fear..only to be shown, unprecedentedly, that people don’t bow to control, even in the face of death, en masse, they disobey, they are unbreakable

truly an epiphany story..I want to shame Christians, and make them sing, by telling a darkness-to-light story that the deepest theologians swear by, and that goes beyond anything that’s happened in a church in the last 50 years, in inspiration

not someone who’s seen the light

apertif..based on this way of eating you’d wake up at 3 in the morning and eat a peanut, then an hour later you’d move on to a walnut

I had a late breakfast..like noon..but I wouldn’t mind going back to the ole trough

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Junk text I threw away before starting ::HARD

Uncategorized

There’s sometimes junk text that I write when starting a novel.  It has to be written, to get to the good stuff, but it can’t be used, because it sucks.  This is junk text I wrote before starting the text that became ::HARD.  I have never read this or edited it..it may contain names of real people, it may be completely ridiculous.  This is the kind of text I have to get through, to get to what I want to write.  -MT

::HARD

TEMPLE

I work on hard problems.  Problems of the mind.  You’ve got your hard problems and you’ve got your easy problems.  "Hard" is a technical term in mathematics.  In math, when we say something is “hard”, we don’t just mean it’s difficult.  As opposed to easy?  A hard problem is like this: let’s say you have a knot.  A small knot might take you a couple minutes to untangle.  Let’s say you have a chain, a little jewlery chain, with a kink in it.  If you just have a kink, you might be able to untangle it in a few seconds, if you have fingernails.  Let’s say you have two kinks, though—that might take longer.  Every time you add a kink, the knot takes longer to solve.  But there’s a rate there: to add a kink takes a certain amount of time.  To remove a kink takes a certain amount of time.  If it takes less time to untangle a knot than it took to tangle it, that’s an easy problem.  If it takes more time to untangle a knot than it took to tangle it, that’s a hard problem.

I don’t have fingernails.  I tear mine off.

Intelligence is a hard problem.  Testing people.  Trying to figure out how smart someone is?  That’s a hard problem, or involves them.  The amount of effort it takes an intelligent being to confuse someone else is smaller than the amount of effort required by that someone else to stay un-confused.  In other words: let’s say you’re trying to figure out how smart I am.  It’s hard for you to do that.  Intrinsically.  It’s part of the nature of things.  It’s easy for me to do things that are hard for you to understand.  It’s easy for you to do things that are hard for me to understand.  So testing people, say making an IQ test, is hard.  It’s like the knot: it’s easier to tangle than it is to untangle.  The mind is that way, mental problems are that way.  They’re like chains.  Which is why, no matter how many people you have making up IQ tests, there will always be types of intelligence that IQ tests don’t measure.  No matter how often you untangle your chains, chains will always have kinks in them.  That’s how it works.

You really can’t type properly if you have fingernails.  Even for a woman, in this day and age, they’re passe.  For a scientist, especially.  One needs to get one’s hands dirty.  I don’t like boys much.

Don’t get me wrong: I like cock.  Or I used to.  As late I’ve developed some aesthetic problems with it.  Not really problems, not aversions.  But my conceptual phenomenology of cock has evolved over the years.  I still like to get fucked.  But the way I think about it has changed.  It’s probably hormonal.

When you hit, hit hard.  If you hit at all.  If you don’t hit, it doesn’t matter.  But if you hit, hit hard.  A hit is a thing that has a certain nature.  Why are you hitting someone in the first place, etc.?  The choice isn’t between a hard hit and a soft hit—the question of how hard to hit isn’t the real question.  It’s between hitting and not hitting.  A hit has a certain nature that comes along with it, and that nature is hard.

I like to get hit.  I like to hit, but I like to get hit even more.  During sex, I mean.  Punched up the side of the head.  Not really punched in the eye, more punched up the jaw, from the bottom up, up into my head.  It’s invigorating, it’s liberating, to be punched by your lover.  You have to find people who are into it.  Not everyone’s into it.

You can start with choking, which anyone can try.  You want to be careful not to suffocate your partner when you try this—which is a danger.  Autoerotic masturbators have been surprising their parents for decades with this kind of overkill—if you’ll allow the expression.  It’s easy to miscalculate the duration of partial asphyxiation needed to maximize one’s orgasm.  When one miscalculates upwards, sometimes one creates a nasty surprise for one’s parents.  Or one’s landlord, or one’s husband.  Whatever.

But, yes, I recommend choking as an initial alteration of the normal behavior.  You want to try this with someone you can already reach simultaneous orgasm with, or what’s the point?  This is an excercise in control.  It’s a way to further control your orgasm, so if you’re doing this with someone else, it needs to be someone you’re in tune with, to a high degree.  I mean you already have to be in concert.  This will sweeten the pot, but it won’t fill it up in the first place.  So you need someone who you’re already sweet with, who can already make you cum.  And you them, ideally.

You want to place your hands around your partner’s throat and squeeze.  You should be facing front-to-front.  Dangerous to do this from the back, as you want to be able to see the person’s face while you’re choking them.  You’re going to want to squeeze hard, harder than you might be comfortable with at first.  Let your partner control the hardness.  Let them place their hands on top of yours at first, pressing your fingers into their neck.  Watch their face turn red.  Watch their discomfort.  Feel your fingers doing that.  Then see them cum.

Feel their hands on your neck with your hands on theirs.  Both squeezing.  Eyes red, the hotness of blood.  Maybe you’ll both pass out.  Don’t let go, don’t stop.  Keep fucking.  Keep choking.  That’s it.  Yeah.  Now you’ve got it.

As I said, choking is a starting point.  From here, we’ll move to punching.  And when we punch, we punch hard.

Choking is of degrees—maybe three degrees of choking.  Maybe three levels of tightness there are, in choking.  As in: choke me hard, choke me harder, choke me hardest.  With punching there are only two.  One is: not hard enough.  The other is: hard.  You want hard.

When you get punched right you’ll know it.  When you get that hit up the side of your face, you’ll be aware.  You’ll think: oh my god, you hit me.  You’ll look at the person, your lover, this man who sticks his cock in you, and you’ll see his gentle eyes and the scared look in his face.  And you’ll know he hit you right.  The more worried he is, that he did it too hard, the better the hit.  People have such limited ideas of initmacy.

Intimacy is just: what we do together.  As in: some things we don’t, some things we do.  Every couple has a set of things they do.  When that set expands, intimacy increases.  When that set contracts, intimacy decreases.  You have to leave your morals aside when you think of intimacy.  You have to leave out all ideas of sexuality.  To really understand intimacy, this is what you have to do.

When there was {something we don’t do together}, and that turns into {something we do together}, that’s becoming intimate.  When this happens, people get scared.

When there was {something we do together}, and that turns into {something we don’t}, that’s losing intimacy.  When this happens, people get hurt.

When people get scared, sometimes they grow.  When people get hurt, sometimes someone dies.

I only respect those who hit hard.  You have to overcome.  Like in a sense of the will.  In a Neitzsche sense.  I am here, I am an idea, or a will, or a want.  I will expand.  I will grow.  I will overtake—something, if only for a moment.  That’s what you have to do.  And that’s what I call hitting hard.

I play hard and I only play with people who play hard.  This is for safety.  It’s like the weight classifications in boxing.  It’s not that heavyweights have something against flyweights.  It’s that you want everyone to have fun, and when people die—when people get hurt—then it’s not as much fun.

To hit is to overcome.  It is, as well, to be overcome.  The idea—the will—to hit, overcomes me.  Then, if I hit you, you are overcome by the hit.  So we are both overcome, the same, by the idea of the hit, even though I am the one doing the hitting and you are the one getting hit.

When I get hit, I get hit hard.  It’s how I’m wired.

I’m wired to hit.  I go down hard, I get up fast.

You can’t get hit hard without getting hit hard back.

I’m not really a mathematician.  I just studied some math at JH.  It’s not something I’m good at.  I can read some books, I apply basic ideas here and there.  To really specialize, you have to get way more into automated proofs than I ever wanted to get.  I get into the basics.  I get as deep as I need to be.  We have math people; they’re experts at what they do.  You have to have statisticians do develop this type of software.

I don’t really do clinical psychology.  I’m certified in California, but that’s not my cup of tea.  I only maintain my certification so I can consult on weird cases my friends find.  You get these strange edge cases, odd diagnoses, I just have an ear for it, that’s all.  It’s all at the hobby level, though, I don’t keep up with the developments.  Just some reading here and there.  If you want to be good at that, you have to spend your whole life doing it.

You need coders to make this shit, architects.  These guys spend their lives reading RFCs and memorizing hex codes.  They use programs—to write programs—that you and I have never heard of.  Those are the real mechanics, it’s its own field.  Sometimes the sciend end tries to muck around with code.  They can’t.  You take some gal with a PhD in complex systems, modeling, right?  She can’t fuck with code.  Maybe some basic shit, toy-box shit, thesis shit, student shit.  But she can’t really fuck with code.  If she’s smart, she knows she can’t fuck with code.  But she won’t be smart.  She’ll think she can fuck with code, just because she has a PhD in something.  But she can’t.  You need specialized people, with their whole mind wrapped around architecture and protocols and concurrency.  That’s its own field right there.  It’s hard to find concurrency experts.  That’s the kind of thing where there’s maybe 50 people in the world who have interesting ideas about concurrency.  Finding one of those 50, and getting them to work for your company, is hard.

Sandy I met through a friend.  Sandy scared me.  Beach-girl freckles, burned-out skin.  She woulda had a pretty face.  The guy that introduced us was a programmer, Ray.  Ray bought meth off her.  He used to smoke it out of foil and he confided in me: “This shit makes me want to lay around and play with my nipples all day.”  That phrase, for me, is filed under Ray Kremer.  Right under those chubby-ass cheeks.  Anyway, Sandy is my friend, and Ray introduced us.

Sandy owns big dogs, pit bulls.  These brown ones with pink eyes.  They’re real big, and they aren’t friendly.  You know how pets take on the personalities of their owners?  Sandy’s dogs reflect growing up around people on crystal meth.  People stopping by to pick things up.  Staying for an hour, just so it’s not in-and-out traffic.  Sandy’s dogs smoke crystal meth, via second-hand smoke.  I mean they have to.  That’s can’t be good for a dog’s brain.

When I go over her place, Sandy has to lock them up in the bathroom while I’m there.  They don’t like me.  They especially don’t like when I get in Sandy’s bed.  And they get really mad when Sandy gets in bed with me.  They’re not used to that—to people being in Sandy’s bed.  I think she sleeps with them when I’m not there.

We don’t always do anything, when I get in Sandy’s bed.  Sometimes we just rub on each other.  Sometimes we don’t even do that.  I really like her, I mean it’s not just about sex.  With Sandy and me, it’s not even sex, really, it’s just more {skin pleasure and cuddling}.  You don’t always have to define these things.  It’s ok to just lie in bed with someone and like them.  As long as it’s ok with their dogs.

Sandy slowly came to trust me.  Now I help her bag the shit.  If she’s bagging.  It’s just something to do, while I’m over there.  To pass the time.  We make conversation.  She’s interested in testing.  She listens, she gets the basic concepts.  She listens more than most people, and unlike most people, when I tell her things, she asks the right questions back.

Sometimes I want to get more hardcore with Sandy than Sandy wants to get with me.  I think she has residual trauma from her boyfriends, who have mostly been violent—along the lines of armed robbery.  It’s impossible to have a normal emotional relationship with someone who does meth every day, but she maintains a certain level, and she’s better goddamn company than most of the people I know.  That’s sad, you know, when you have to go to your meth dealer to get a decent cuddle session.  And not sad about me; I mean: it’s sad about the world.

My mom was a disease person; disease scientist.  Saved—you know—chickens from chicken flu and that sort of thing.  She remarried, I don’t know where she lives.  She’s got a new family now.  She prefers to concern herself with them, as opposed to concerning herself with me and my brother, who really has problems.  I do ok but some people need extra help—like from their parents.  When they don’t get it, they become homeless.  I always make my brother keep a phone.  When he can’t afford one I send him one.  He’s in New York.  Those heroin addicts who run the beggar schemes—where they work on shifts holding a piece of cardboard that says “stranded and hungry”?  That’s him.  They do this thing where they shriek and hide their faces under the cardboard?  It really grips you when you see it, this person crying under a piece of cardboard.  Then sometimes you catch them on shift change.  One guy gets up and then the next one sits in his spot—she takes the sign from him and he stops shrieking and gets up and calmly walks up the street.  Then this next girl covers her face and starts shrieking.  That’s a shift change.  Mom just denies it.  When we do talk, she uses nebulously-optimistic, and just irrelevant, phrases like “putting together the puzzle” and “working out the kinks” as if my brother is doing well, and has only to adjust a few of the finer points before he’s suddenly Warren Buffett.

My brother is not Warren Buffett.  He’s never going to be Warren Buffett.

There’s this misconception that you can somehow hit hard without getting hit hard yourself.  That somehow you can produce, without using up.  Do you know what I mean?  Like people want to be Picasso but without the misogny.  Or they want to be NASA’s Space Shuttle program without the Challenger.  I hate this kind of thinking, ‘cause it’s real disrespectful.  It shows a lack of understanding of how things work, of what Picasso or the Space Shuttle program really is.  As if you can create something without making a mess.  As if you can make an omelette without—as they say—breaking an egg.  Of course this is all bullshit.  If you want to hit hard—you have to get hit hard yourself.

I like LA at night.  It’s hard.  It’s hookers throwing up in a 7-11 parking lot.  It’s a guy walking down the street with a knife.  Just, out.  Sunset strip, 3am and some college-looking motherfucker walking down the street with a knife.  This is across the street from the 7-11.  And I’m in there somewhere, somewhere in that scene.  I’m the one going up to hospitals, sneaking in the emergency room the back way.  It’s just something I do; don’t worry about it.

LA at night is all about where the party went.  You know where it started: with some random conversation in a bar, with going out with your girlfriends, with one drink.  That’s where it started, but then, after that, it went somewhere.  LA at night is all those parties ending.  They don’t end well, and they don’t end the way you expected.  Usually they end with some girl from Indiana walking down the double yellow stripe in the middle of La Brea Avenue, wrapped in a blanket, avoiding cars as best she can without her glasses.  They next day, cops will know her name, and she’ll have no idea how.  Some of those parties end in strip clubs, guys trying to get hard through ten drinks and thick jeans to perform for some Kenyan giving him a lap dance.  He’ll want a blow job.  If she’s about to get deported, she’ll give him one.  Yeah, those parties end in different places than they started.  Always with less money, and always by oneself.

My parties end bad in LA.  Usually with me ringing some doorbell that could get me shot.  Sleeping in my car if I’m lucky.  Coming to, because there’s homeless people talking.  Smoking in a stairwell.  And my hand slides under the passenger seat, and grabs that pipe, and takes it with me…

When I go to Sandy’s, that can be either the beginning or the end of my LA party.  But usually it’s a bit of both.  When I ring that doorbell, I could be there for days.  And that’s definitely a doorbell that could get me shot.  When Sandy is by herself for a while, she gets a little weird.  Getting through her door, getting her to let me in, can be a trial.  There’s dogs barking.  Then a pause.  That’s when Sandy’s getting her gun.  She’s never showed it to me, but she keeps it under her pillow.  She sleeps with it there.  I’ve seen the edge of the pistol grip.  It can take some convincing to make Sandy believe that the person on the other side of the door is me.  Then she puts the dogs up, and I just hear yelling and claws and the bathroom door slamming.  Then Sandy hitting the door.  "And stay in there!“  Then she hits it again.  "And shut up!”  Then the apartment door opens a crack and Sandy sees it’s me.  She looks behind me.  She opens the door a little more.  She looks all around me.  "It’s just you?“

"It’s just me.”

She tugs the waist of my shirt.  "It sounded like more people out here.“

Two grown men beating the shit out of each other.  That was on TV.  This east-LA-looking dude with a "TAP OUT” shirt on.  Then this other guy, looks like some momma’s boy, like Ethan Hawke.  Beating the shit out of each other.  Whatever kind of fighting it is, you can kick the guy in the head, you can grab the guy’s nuts, it looks like.  They’ll be standing in the corner of the cage kindof grabbing each other’s nuts, like a slow dance.  Then Ethan Hawke gets his neck bent out, stretched by the other guy, almost snapped off; he finally taps out.

I can’t explain my love of boxing, MMA, whatever.  I punched my brother once when we were young.  He always brags that I’m the only one who ever punched him in the face, even though that isn’t true.  It’s certainly not the case that he’s the only one I’ve ever punched.

I don’t know why I do it.  This isn’t Fight Club or anything.  I don’t go anywhere to do it.  I’m not a boxer.  I took a yoga class once and they flunked me.  I couldn’t keep quiet.  It was Bikram yoga or something, they had this big sign.  Fuck ’em.  You can’t tell me which way to face when I’m lying on the mat.  They wanted to tell me when to drink my water!  Like I couldn’t drink during this time or that time, some bullshit.  I broke their mirror.

The funny thing is how you can intimidate people.  That is fair game.  You’re not operating in a safe zone.  I can come out at you anytime, can come across that line.  Faces are scary.  When they get close.  That’s when you get fucked.  Faces will fuck you up.  They’ll fuck you ::hard.

Once I punched this guy by surprise.  We were fucking—well, he was fucking me.  I just came up and fucked that motherfucker.  Fucked his cute little prep-school nose.  Real perfect nose, or used to be.  Some of this type of violence is the price you pay for letting certain people get bored.  You assume the price you have to pay for boring me in a conversation is: nothing.  This is incorrect.  When you bore me, you are taking.  You are taking from me, extracting little pieces of my life, and using them as if they were your own.  They are not.  The price for taking pieces of my life is not nothing.  It is something.  Sometimes it means you get your face beat.  Fuck it.  Sometimes it means worse.  This is a two-way street.  You’re not here on a free pass.  There’s no rule that says I have to put up with you.  There’s no rule that says that.  Just because you’re used to dealing with trained monkeys doesn’t mean I’m one.  That guy’s face was fine—the one I punched?  He was fine.  He just looked a little different after that.  Better, I think.

Maybe I never should have smacked my brother.  Maybe that one event spiraled out of control in his psyche and he never recovered.  That’s not likely, though.  Maybe I should have punched him harder.

Damn you, Matthew, damn you.  When I find you I’m gonna hit you so hard your nose will knock back into your brain.  Yeah.  I’m gonna hit you hard.

Me and Matthew used to do coke at family reunions.  We’d never tell our other siblings.  We’d never tell our parents.  There was a cousin or two who suspected.  We’ve got an alcoholic or two lurking in the family tree.  But nothing like me or Matthew.  When we hit, we hit hard.  Everyone else, they’re just on the normal track, average jobs, kids, maybe volunteering to tutor some kids on the weekends or becoming an amateur skiier or something.  That level of committment.  That level of involvement.  Hobbies.  Crocheting, jigsaw puzzles, singing in the church choir.  Stuff like that.  They don’t hit hard.  They’re not really into things.  They’re on the edges, they’re on the surface.  With Matthew and I, we go deep.  We go fast.  And we may never come back, but we go there, and that’s what counts.

No one cares if you win.  If you get lost.  If you go there, and you never come back, no one cares.  We don’t think less of you.  But you have to play.  That’s the only difference: did you play, or did you not?  And if you play, you better play hard.

People find out you’re a drug addict, they lose respect for you.  They discount you.  They would never do something like that—that’s what they think.  The idea that you would, when they wouldn’t, makes them think there’s something different about you—or about them.  They’re above it.  They have morals.  They have family.  They have upbringing.  They have money.  That shit doesn’t matter.  The myth is that we’re different; we’re all the same.  The myth is that they wouldn’t ever go there—they would.  They would, they just think they wouldn’t.  They’re wrong.  And given that they’re wrong about this, the rest of their agrument(s) about addiction are discountable.  They’re irrelevant.  It’s like saying: because I’m never going to grow old, because I’m never going to die, I will always be here to take care of you, my child.  It’s a nice sentiment, but it doesn’t make any fucking sense.  It carries no weight.  It’s {if a, then b} when a isn’t true; it just doesn’t matter.

Between me and my brother, when they measured our potential, they got it wrong.  With him, they thought he was a genius.  With me, they thought I was ok, but not a genius.  They were right about that part.  They put him in all these special classes and me they put in with the regulars, so I had all this extra time to read ’cause I was bored in my classes.  Him, he was like doing Mensa block puzzles in the fourth grade.  He was good at those block puzzles.  He was too good.  High-IQ people don’t usually do well in the workplace.  I mean we’ve studied it; they don’t.  Work is meant for the average.  That’s how it’s calibrated.  You know in the wild, where animals stick together in a flock or a herd or huddled together in a warm ball to stay alive in the snow?  That’s work, that’s the point of civilization for average people.  They’re weak, so they need each other to stay alive.  In a mental sense.  Right?  Did you ever notice how groups of people, families, cliques, companies, bowling teams—they form and separate over time.  They form when all the members share a need.  They separate when the needs of the members change.  So: with average people, certain needs never go away.  They’re not growing, they’re not developing, in the same sense that an extraordinary person is.  They extraordinary person outgrows the group.  They outgrow every group you can ever put them in.  The average person…stays in the group forever.  That’s what work is: it’s one of those groups.  It’s a way for weak people to survive, by sticking together.  Hence high-IQ people don’t do well in workplaces.  You would think that they would do well: you would assume that work success—the success of a company, and by extension the success of employees within that company—was dependent on skill, ability, intelligence, performance.  That’s what recruiters and CEOs and antiquated economic theories would lead you to believe.  Not the case.  Performance has nothing to do with work success.  Performance is a watchword, co-opted by clique-builders, to hide their weakness.  Success in the workplace is fitting in, being average, not standing out from the pack—exactly as success is defined in terms of the pack, the clique, the herd.  As in the herd, it is the exceptional animal…who is killed first.  You will not find exceptional animals flourishing in the workplace—and that’s what happened to my brother.

Addiction is a degree of gullability with respect to satisfaction.  An addict believes he can achieve satisfaction through his actions.  That is what addiction is.  It’s an admirable idea, the idea of the addict.  A non-addict does not believe they can achieve satisfaction by changing their actions.  An addict believes that through his action he can make something desirable happen.  Non-addicts essentially don’t believe this.  They are not trying to make the world a better place.  They do not believe their world can be changed.  This is the sane position.  Disgusting, from a spiritual point of view.  Despicable, from an elevated view.  It’s not that god would necessarily become an addict.  It’s that only an addict could possibly become god.

And so, while an addict’s technique is a stupid one to try, to try—to try, itself—is the most admirable trait of all.

There is no way for a human to escape this choice unscathed.  There are three choices: 1) Don’t try for the sun.  This is what non-addicts do. 2) Try for the sun, and the sun kills you.  This is what most addicts do.  And 3)  Try for the sun, because it’s the right thing to do, spiritually, and be lucky not to die.  Then be faced with an impossible problem: the problem of being spiritually alive, but unable to achieve the truly impossible, but wanting to.  The social superiority associated with (1) is the cheapest type of reward for having given up one’s spirit, one’s humanity, one’s godliness.  Those who claim any kind of religiosity or spirituality, who never try for the sun, are rats—the only appropriate emotion to give them is sympathy.  Serious people—people who take life seriously, who value it—never take this path.

I’ve never actually killed anyone.  I draw the line.

So you’ll never find real achievers in the workplace.  The real achievers exists on their own framework.  They have to create the air they breathe.  Something about it being hard to live, makes a person a genius.  What’s that Norse saying?  That the cold north wind made the Nordics?  I think that’s true.  No, to find a true, true genius, you’ll have to look far outside the workplace.  To find a real genius the place you want to look is with the losers.

They could never test my brother.  He was too smart.  He would write out codes and spell them out in the bubbles, in the ovals, with a number two pencil.  You didn’t know what you were teaching, if you were teaching my brother.  He was teaching you.  He would teach you with questions.  He would teach you with rhymes.  His lessons were sometimes criminal, granted, or close to it, but he was teaching nonetheless.  You could never tell what my brother was doing.  Everything was concealed, knitted on the inside, laced.  Knots he wove, you couldn’t begin to undo.  His braids, you didn’t even know were there.

There’s some artistry that plays in your face.  You know it’s there.  It’s a play, or a movie.  There’s a sign out front the theater, it says: “SHOWING AT TEN”.  Not all art is like that.  Some of it creeps on you; some of it never reveals itself.  I’m not an artist, I don’t know, but if I was I think I’d make the secret kind.  I think I’d want to creep up on a motherfucker, from the sides, like the raptors in Jurassic Park.  I’d hunt in packs, with strategy.  There would be a set-up, and a pay-off.  I’d make art like a bank heist.  You would never know what happened until after we took your money.  And you would love it.  You wouldn’t want to be distracted with such things.  We’d know how to make you happy better than you knew it yourself.  Smart people manipulate the world.  They manipulate your conversations, they manipulate your desires, they manipulate the prices you pay for food.  When you’re smart, and you care about the world, it’s your job to manipulate it.  Because there are always other smart people out there, manipulating the world, and some of them are working against what you care about.  So if you love the world, or anything in it, and you can manipulate it, then it’s your job to do so.  If you don’t give a shit you can let things fall where they will.  If you do give a shit, then you have to play with the world.  My brother is the kind of artist who plays in secret.

I usually need things in their place.  It’s not OCD.  Well, it’s minor OCD.  It’s not clinical.  It’s just a very minor OCD manifestation.  It’s topical.  I’m not one of those people who takes 30 minutes to get from their car into a Taco Bell because they have to check the door handles five thousand times.  That’s not me.  But I’ll suffer a mild obsession now and then.  I don’t have to act on it.  That’s my thing.  So it’s mainly an obsession, and not a compulsion.  But there’s compulsion sometimes.  Occassionally, occassionally, I guess there’s some compulsion.  To get things right.  I just like things even.  I like things proper.  That’s how it usually manifests itself.  Like in a report, the formatting has to be consistent.  It’s a sign of low intelligence, when formatting is inconsistent.  Or a lack of pride, at least.  You should have pride when you make reports, because that’s the whole point of making a report.  To present, to represent…to show something you believe.  When you don’t care about what you’re saying, that’s when you get sloppy about how you say it.  I just like things at right angles that should be at right angles, stuff like that.

It’s the strangest thing, the places you find ideas.  Some people find them in books.  I find them in people, in the things that people say.  In their stories, usually—when they cry.  Or when they tell you their dreams, their ideas about what they might become.  That’s where you find great ideas.  It’s not always on the surface.  In most people you’ll get their dreams when they tell you what they fear.  When they tell you what defeats them.  They think they’re telling you what they’re afraid of.  They’re really telling you what they will become.

Sleeping in beds is for pussies.  I love sleeping in beds.  I’m not saying I don’t love sleeping in beds.  You’re going to hear more about my bed later.  I love my bed.  A bed has its place.  You need to watch out for people who only sleep in beds.  That’s very bad.  A very bad sign for someone’s psyche.  At some point you have to realize that everywhere is home, to a great degree.  Too much of a dependence on a particular bed for the idea of home, is not a good sign.  I mean if you’re looking for extraordinary people.  We all need a home.  But it’s better to have more than one.  And it’s ideal to have them everywhere.

My brother’s hair is matted knots.  Braids, and what used to be braids, now grown to something else.  You couldn’t brush it, you couldn’t wash it.  You could wash it as you might wash an elephant’s toenail.  You could wash it, but it wouldn’t come clean.

I never wanted to be successful, I never wanted that kind of success.  I wanted to help the world.  As a kid, I was the same way.  I wanted to help.  It wasn’t ’till later that I had my own plans.  To start, I helped other people implement theirs.  When Matthew made forts, I helped.  We were into Buck Rogers.  He was into Indiana Jones.  He decided we should make the Temple of Doom in our back yard.  I helped.  I would not have decided to do that on my own.  It was only later that I started devising plans of my own, and executing them.

My brother’s feet aren’t pretty.  They’re black, grit-black.  They don’t smell pretty, either.  He has toenails that look like rollercoasters.  And not safe ones, not fun ones, but the kind you’d find in a nightmare.  Rollercoasters with impossible jumps, where the cars make a leap—and never land.  That’s what my brother’s toenails are like.

He sleeps in a church when it’s cold.  Outside when it’s not.  He has camps.  He says New York is the best place to be homeless.  We used to give him money, but he spends it in the wrong way.  He spends it on drugs.  And food.  He’s a real restaurant buff.  At first we thought he needed it, but…he can’t save anything, ever.  He’s like the opposite of Midas and that makes me—I don’t know—fucking…Cleopatra’s dog.

Why weren’t you more present?  Why weren’t you there for me?  You were there for me, but not enough.  I needed more.  I needed more of you, more parts, more aspects.  I needed all your facets, working in concert, not just a brilliant spark from time to time.  Those sparks are fine.  But I need a fire.  To keep warm.

The camps in New York were the safest place to be homeless because they were like family.  For a while, that was the place to be.  It wasn’t safe in the sense of a bed in a 20’x30’ room in a security-patrolled house in the suburbs in say, Buttfuck, Indiana.  Safe under covers, warm.  But you could sleep in packs, little families, certain areas, parks.  The good spots are crack houses, the floor of an apartment in Harlem, parquet staircase, forgotten by the owner.  Eight people to a room, some guys in the kitchen.  Watching TV all night, some guy cooking.  He’s making runs, deliveries.  You’re on a stem, broke the fuck out, trying not to get kicked out of the house.  When you live in a crack house, you’re not exactly homeless.  But at any time, you could be.  Attitudes change, people split off.  You’re always one hit away from never coming back.

People access a kind of emotion on crack.  It’s the kind where you meet a stranger, become the best of friends—long-lost brothers, separated at birth—an hour later one of you throws a man’s arm off—why the fuck did you touch me, man?  It’s like any organization: once you no longer have common needs, the thing evaporates.

My boss’s need was to drive a Lexus.  Well, that’s unfair.  His need was to protect his wife and daughters.  I respect that, so don’t go calling me heartless and shit.  Sure, you’ve got to protect your kids.  Provide.  Whatever.  His motivation was more like: to not have things go wrong the way they went before.  One kid is from a former wife.  They split.  He’s embarrassed about it, wishes he could have made it go better.  Has that male thing where you think you can make things go better, all on your own.  Fix it.  Like you’re the only one involved in the situation.  I looked down on him for that.  Get over it, hold your head high.  No one cares.  So you ditched your first wife.  Who cares.  Just live life normal—you don’t need to always compensate.  You know, for whatever happened before.

When you get together with someone, you believe you’re going to do something together.  Once you do it, or once one of you doubts that you ever will—things begin to fall apart.  Long-term relationships involve a continuing redefinition of—essentially the group objective.  It’s the only way an entity can stay viable for a long time.  The other way is if the organization never reaches its goal.  In those cases, people can stay together forever, hoping.

Teenage relationships have a duration of days or weeks—I’m talking about with people of average intelligence.  The goal of the relationship is to hook up.  The impediments to this can be resolved on an average timescale of days to weeks.  At the end of this time, it’s a coin-flip.  The chances of the relationship doubling its interval of existence, is .5, it’s 50%.  It’s roughly the same for, say, the marriage model, or the child-rearing model.  The period of time it takes to have children is the interval of the relationship.  Once this happens, the chance the couple or group will double the relationship interval, continuing in the relationship, is 50%.  This is true with nations, with ants, with all types of corporate relationships.  With our company, it was like this: our goal was to eliminate addiction, to solve the addicition problem.  Once we did that, the chance we would stay together for that same length of time, again, was 0.5.  Or if we failed, then we would stay together forever, hoping.

I didn’t want us to stay together hoping.  I wanted this goal satisfied.  I wanted us to succeed, then break up.  As soon as possible, preferably.  I don’t like pillow-talk.  I’ll have a cigarette after sex, but only once I’m out the door.  Come on.  The poetry of romance went out 160 years ago.

The sibling relationship is a special one.  Unlike romance, you have a goal that can never be satisfied.  Your goal is to quell the lonliness of existence.  When there is one child, that child is alone.  It has no one who came from the same place, from the same womb and the same set of genes.  In a schematic/genetic sense, an only child is quite profoundly alone.  An only child represents a set of possibilities, a path through possibility-space, that has no friends, has no allies.  Of course every two genetic paths are distinct—there is vast difference between the paths taken by any pair of individuals you choose.  But an only child is different.  An only child is more alone, in terms of genetic/schematic path, than anyone who has a brother or a sister.  So the sibling relationship, in essence, is about company.  The goal of the sibling relationship is to provide company.  The goal is to quell lonliness.  Which is impossible.  No sibling, no amount of siblings, no circumstance in which you place siblings, will ever fully quell the lonliness the sibling relationship is designed to mitigate.  That is why siblings don’t have to break up.  Of course sometimes they do.  But it’s not imperative that they will, it’s not imperative that their organization decline.  It is imperative that the child-rearing relationship fall apart, simply because it is possible to have children.  Since it’s impossible to fully quell the lonliness of existence, there can be cases where siblings maintain their relationship throughout their lives.

I wanted to end addiction.  Because that’s the real trap.  Not addiction, exactly.  But a certain kind of loop.  Obsession and compulsion are paradigms through which we sometimes view addiction.  I’m a systems person; when I look at psychological constructs I think in systems.  You’ve got to strip away the emotional and cultural prejudices from childhood, to have a clear view of the system.

I was looking at a certain type of loop.  There’s a perception of freedom during the experience of human consciousness, an idea that I am free to do what I want to do now.  Addiction runs at odds with this.  This perception of freedom may be bullshit.  It may be that no such freedom exists.  But we had to get better into the nature of that feeling of freedom, in order to combat addiction, because addiction, while it involves a type of capability, by its nature isn’t a free state.  Addiction isn’t.  It’s a feeling of necessity, rather than freedom.  It actually may be that the reality of the world, of our world as people, is much more one of necessity than freedom.  We weren’t trying to change what is, just what people feel.

When you’re working to cure, there’s always someone working to infect.

Even while you’re making things clean, someone is making them dirty.

When you’re trying to make sense of something, you can guarantee there’s someone trying to confuse you.

By the way, I didn’t care about the people we were trying to cure.  I was doing this for my own enjoyment, my on satisfaction—the satisfaction of solving a problem.  I mean, I care.  I care about their lives.  I wish them increased happiness.  But I don’t care about them personally.  You can’t—it’s impossible.  There are certain ways it’s really impossible to care about another person.

Work is hard—problem solving.  You think you’re working on one thing, you’re really working on another.  That’s the key to solving problems: be open to reframing the problem.  You can’t successfully solve problems while maintaining a rigid definition of them.  It’s not how it’s done.  It’s those of us who refine the terms by which we describe problems, who are able to best solve them.  That might sound like cheating.  It’s not, though.  Problems aren’t actually solved.  Broadly, there are no problems.  It’s terms who are responsible for the formation of problems in our minds.  Only redefinition of those terms seems to make problems go away.  That’s what problem solving is.  You’re not really changing the world.  You’re changing how you think about it.

You’re the same self, before and after.  Before and after such a transition.  You bring along your personality.  Your mother still recognizes you.  All your speech peculiarities are the same.  You just have more money now.  You can get your teeth straightened.  You can buy a car.  Or maybe: you can buy a boat.  Or maybe: you can buy a plane.  You have more time.  But you bring your same sicknesses along with you, they just now have more sugar to grow on in a larger petri dish.

My beliefs are bigger now.  I left behind some that limitation thinking.  I still have to work to arrive at the destination, but now I believe those destinations are possible.  It makes it easier to work.  I can spend longer on a project, I can spend more and more years working for something I cannot see.  It’s faith, or stupidity, or blindness; I’ve learned to love all three.

The lower bound rises.  You still work in the zone between where you are and where you want to be.  Where you are has changed, has risen.  Below that line are things you don’t worry about anymore, not on a daily basis.  So there’s still space, but it’s space shifted upward.

I guess my dreams have changed.  People can grab any branch they reach for.

I’ve come to understand that the moments I would have regretted, before, are the moments when I’m becoming.  Stuff that used to scare me, I can now relax through: those are the moments when something is happening.

Instead of regretting my imperfections, I am starting to love them, to see that my rough edges are truly me.  Those aren’t areas I need to sand; they’re places I need to explore.  It was actually the places I was afraid of, that have made me what I am.

And the parts of me that others sometimes objected to::those are the parts that have made me rich beyond my wildest imaginings.

Nothing evil is scary.  Only the good scares us.  Nothing of hate is frightful; only love.  It’s not how awful things could be, but how wonderful they are, that makes us scream.

So yeah, basically, we’re rich now.  All of us.  Even Calvin.  I don’t mind that he’s rich.  He bought a banana car which he now drives to the office.  It’s an old promo device from Chiquita?  Except he painted over the Chiquita logo and put a hand grenade.  It’s kind of beautiful.  The more I can do, the more I do, the less I care what anyone else is doing.

It has been suggested that I have bipolar disorder.  It isn’t confirmed, but it has been suggested.  These things are subjective.  I’ve never done the brain scans.  Even then, it’s subjective.  Within certain ranges, it’s subjective.  It’s like eccentricity—which is a word to describe mental illness when it occurs in rich people?  It’s a matter of perspective.  If your illness causes you to be a chess prodigy, or a concert pianist, then it’s ok.  If you’re homeless, if you stink, if you disagree with the politics of your age or if you don’t make money like you’re supposed to, then you need medication to make you more normal, to make you act more the way the rest of us would like you to.  If you’re rich, then you get to tell us what to do.  If you’re poor, then we get to tell you what to do.  Mental illness is tied up around this rich/poor fence.  Do you have the power to exert the idea that your behavior is ok?  If yes, then you’re not crazy; otherwise, you are crazy.

Medicine does happen in hospitals, yes, just as education does sometimes happen in schools.  But it’s farce to pretend that those are the primary reasons for the continuation of those institutions.  They’re just there to make money.  They do enough healing and teaching to convince you to pay your bills.

“We’re looking to put together a hard-core crew here.”

“Right.”

“Can you be part of that?”

“Well—”

But I interrupt.  "When I say we’re looking to put together a hard-core crew here, I want to make sure you understand what I mean when I say that.“

"Ok.”

“What kind of UNIX experience do you have?”

“I have UNIX experience—”

“Some?  Or a lot?  What flavors of UNIX?  What’s the deepest UNIX problem you’ve debugged?”

“Like kernel development?”

“Just what’s the deepest UNIX problem you’ve debugged.  What’s the deepest UNIX problem that you’ve encountered?  Whether you solved it or not.  Doesn’t matter.  I need a sense of how you think.  So talk about that.”

The guy is looking out the window.

“I found this guy.  For the sysadmin position.”

“Is he a hard-core UNIX guy?”

“He has some UNIX experience.”

“I don’t want someone with UNIX experience.  I want someone who dreams in AWK.  If this guy isn’t piping his dinner to SED then he’s not the right guy.  SED and AWK.  Find someone who has those listed prominently on his resume.  I’ll only talk to those.  I’ll only talk to guys with SED and AWK listed prominently on their resume.”

“Those technologies are twenty years old.”

“They’re thirty years old.  SED and AWK.”

“Ok.”

“Got it?”

“Yeah.”

“This guy has SED.”

“Does he have AWK?”

“No.  I don’t see AWK listed.”

“Then get me another guy!”

“Have a second?”

“Yeah.”

“SED and AWK.”

I scan the resume.  I hand it back.  "Find out if he has SCREEN.“

"Is it absolutely imperative that they have SCREEN?”

“Yes.”

“What is SCREEN anyway?”

“It’s a program that they need to have.”

“I’ll be back.”

“Keep looking.”

“I’m looking.”

“This guy has JAVA.  He’s a tier one JAVA developer, whatever that means.  What does that mean?”

“Means he’s an idiot.  We don’t want him.”

“JAVA developers like this are hard to find.”

“If any resume you look at has JAVA on it, throw it out.”

“But—”

“Throw it out!!”

“This guy has ‘multi-language experience.’”

“Does he have JAVA?”

“Yes, but—”

“Throw it out.”

“What’s so bad about JAVA?”

“We don’t want JAVA people.”

“I’m asking why.”

“Because,” I say.  "It’s a bad indicator.“  I cringe.  "That someone would spend their time that way.  Learning that.  It’s like if you found someone who claimed to be a sticker application expert.  Or a charcoal removal expert.  Or—and expert eraser operator.”

“I don’t follow.”

“When was the last time you used an eraser?”

“I can’t find any people who fit the criteria.”

“Keep looking.”

“We’ve exhausted all the job sites I know of.”

“Find a new one.”

“There aren’t any.”

“Then make one.”

“I don’t know how.  I can’t program.”

“Then find someone who can.”

“How’s the search going?”

“Terrible—”

I interrupt.  "It’s going fine.  We’re still looking.“

"So you have UNIX experience?”

“Sure.”

“What was your first distrubution?”

“Slackware.”

“Did you download it in source or compiled format?”

“I ordered ISOs.  This was 1996, before the internet.  Well.  Before the internet was fast enough to download linux from.”

Calvin’s looking at me, to read my face.  I give him nothing.

“You a console person?”

“I always keep an extra monitor in 80×25, running SCREEN.”

I look at Calvin.

Calvin says: “Don’t look at me!”  Then he asks the guy: “Have we ever spoken before this moment?”

The guy says: “No.”

“Did you email him?”

“Not about anything but the time of this meeting.”

“You didn’t mention SCREEN?”

Calvin shakes his head.

I look at the guy.  "You wanna take me through your .SCREENRC file real quick?“

The guy shows me.  And his .SCREENRC file is awesome.

He’s piping it left.  He’s piping it right.  He’s piping it to AWK and he’s piping it to SED.  He does some stuff with XARGS I’ve never seen.  The guy is true.  He’s a true UNIX guy.  He likes my .BASHRC.  It has some stuff he’s never seen.  We teach each other.  He asks before reaching over my keyboard.  He types like a banshee on speed.  He even smells nice, which is unheard of.  I hired him that day.

"How much does he cost?”

“He’s worth it.”

“How much does he cost?  We still have to hire programmers.”

“They’ll cost more.”

“You’re sure we need this guy?”

“We need him.”

“How many programmers can we afford now, though?  I don’t even think we can get two.”

“We don’t need two.”

“I know, we need more than two.”

“We don’t even need two.  We need one.  We need one really good one.”

“What are the keywords?”

“What?”

Calvin has his notebook open.  "Tell me ’em.  Go with the keywords.  What are they?  I’ll search ’em.  Go.“

"Did you create that new job site?”

“No.  I had to buy spidering time on Amazon Cloud.  We’re searching people’s home pages.  Resumes that aren’t even posted.”

“Good man.”

“So tell me ’em.  Go.”

“You want keywords?”

“Yeah.  Let’s get you your programmer.”

“There aren’t any.”

“Programmers?”

“Key words.  There aren’t any key words you can search for.”

“Then how do we find ’em?”

“We don’t.”

“Then how do we get one?”

“He’ll find us.”

“How do you know that he’ll find us?”

“I have a feeling.”

“Exactly what is you feeling?”

“That he’ll find us.”

“You know,” Calvin says, “It might seem strange me complaining about this, as I’m male, but it’s a little antiquated you using the pronoun ‘he’ when referring to this mystical, supposed programmer who your feeling says will somehow find us.  Don’t you think it would be better to use generic pronouns so as not to piss off the etherial whatevers to which you’re praying, to send us this..person?”

“Don’t stop.  I liked the picture you were giving me: of me praying at some sort of aerogel altar, chanting for spirit energy to send us the perfect programmer.  My chant wouldn’t have had any key words in it, by the way.”

“What’s aerogel?”

“The reason I’m using male pronouns, Calvin, is that it’s going to be a male.”

“Your feeling tells you this?”

“No, there just aren’t any female programmers of this caliber.  There never have been.”

“I’m glad to see you’re keeping open the possibility.”

“Aerogel, Calvin, is like a cloud.”

“Like a computing cloud?”

“No, it’s a cloud in the air.  But it can hold solids.  But it isn’t a solid, really, or a gas.  It’s somewhere inbetween.  Aerogels are these amazing little substances discovered in—”

“That’s ok, I got it.”

“The person who’s looking for us—”

“You mean the person we’re supposed to be finding.

"The person who will find us..is something of an aerogel.”

“I think you’re insane.”

“How will he find us?”

“The programmer?”

“Yes, how will he know..where to reach us?”

“Well I assume he’ll probably use email.”

“But how will he know our email address?”

“Or it’s possible he might use Twitter.”

“Like an @message?”

“Right.”

“But,” Calvin struggles, “How will he know who we are?  Why hasn’t he already contacted us?  You see what I’m saying?  If he’s going to find us..then why hasn’t he found us already?”

“He hasn’t found us,” I say, “because we haven’t started acting the right way.”

“How’s the programmer search coming?”

“It’s coming fine.”

Calvin flips.  "We haven’t even started!“

I repeat: "It’s going fine.”

Scientists like to relax, too.  Usually with drinks.

Sandy’s panties are pink.  Sometimes yellow.  Tight band at the top.  She wears boyshorts.  I wear briefs.  Sometimes I want to just push down her jeans and bite her but I’m afraid she will let the dogs out.  Or that they’ll come out on their own.  Those dogs could kill you if they got angry.  Scratching at the door, somehow, they know if I violate Sandy, if I push her too far.  You never know with people on meth.  I think she likes me, but you don’t know.  She might just like to cuddle.  She might be reaching for the gun.

“Calvin, what’s that?”

“What?”

“On your desk.”

“What, this?”

“No, next to the banana.”

“That’s an Afghanistan Max Biggs figurine.  Authentic.”

“Who the fuck is Max Biggs.”

“He was an Afghanistan war hero.”

“There weren’t any heroes in that war.”

“Watch this.  Calvin.  Why did we go to Afghanistan?”

“Is this a trick question?  Why are you asking me this?  To find bin Laden?  Did I get it wrong?”

“See.”

“See what.  What’s the point?  Why did we go to Afghanistan.”

“To build an oil pipeline.”

“Oh,” Calvin says, “Did we?”

“So how much did you pay for..Max Biggs.”

“Why do you want to know?  So you can make fun of me?”

“Was it more or less than a hundred dollars?”

“It was more than a hundred dollars.”

“Was it more or less than two hundred dollars?

Calvin pauses.

"It was more than two hundred dollars!?  Fuck, fool.”

Calvin’s turning in his chair, back to me.

“Does some of the money at least go to his family?  Come on, Calvin.  I’m sorry.  Do they at least give some of the money to the family?”

“His family’s dead.”

“What about him?”

“He’s dead, too.  He died in Afghanistan.”

“How’d he die.”

“Look, if you want to make fun of somebody, make fun of somebody else, ok?”

“I’m not making fun of you anymore.  I’m sorry.  How’d Max Biggs die?  Wait, first: how’d his family die?”

“House fire?”

“Related to the war?”

“No, just a fucking house fire ok?”

“So what the fuck happened to Max Biggs?”

“He died in Afghanistan.”

“How’d he die?”

“Forget it, ok?”

“How’d he die?  Did he get..cut up by some local kids hated Americans?”

“No.”

“Did he get his head chopped off by the Taliban?”

“No, ok, he died of a mortar explosion.”

“That’s fucked up, where was he?  Sleeping?  Or was he out and about?”

“He wasn’t sleeping, he was holding the mortar.  They were trying to launch it.  It blew up before they could get it off.”

“And you paid how much for that?”

“The money goes to veterans charities, alright, it’s a tragedy that he died.  Maybe he doesn’t fit your definition of hero, but it’s a tragedy he died.”

I put my hand on Calvin’s chair.  "I’m sorry.  I’m sorry I was making fun of you.  I agree it’s a tragedy that he died.“

"Calvin, have a drink.”

“I don’t wanna have a drink with you.”

“You’re gonna drink by yourself?”

“I’m not drinking.”

“Come on, Calvin, I’ve seen you drink two rum and Cokes.”

“Those were Neapolitans, you need new glasses.”

“Sorry, whatever, Neapolitans, you want another?”

“Calvin, what are you doing this weekend?”

“Nothing.  Working.”

“You don’t need to work.  Do something fun.”

“I need to be here to manage the hours.”

“It’s not going to help anything for you to be here.  Don’t you fly?”

“I don’t have a plane here.  My plane’s in Arizona.”

“So you’re just gonna sit here all weekend?”

“You always work the weekends!”

“I’m just making conversation, Calvin, don’t get riled up.”

“I was thinking of doing a reenactment, if you must know.”

“It’s not that I must know.  I’m just asking.  What kind of reenactment?”

“War Room Reenactment.”

“Is that exactly what it sounds like?”

Calvin nods.

“For what war?”

“For covert wars.  I can’t tell you.”

I pat his chair.  "Ok.  Have fun.“  And I leave.

"How was your War Room reenactment?”

“Fine.”

“Who did you play?”

“Let’s just get on with the meeting.”

“What’s wrong, did your side lose?”

“It was a stalemate,” he mumbles.

“What?”

“It was a tactical stalemate!  No one won!  I played Cyrus Vance.”

“The fuck is Cryus Vance?”

“He worked for McNamara.  Finally stumped you, huh.”

“Yeah, never heard of Cyrus Vance.  Is that why you’re upset?  You wanted to play McNamara?”

“Can we just get on with the meeting?”

“Max Biggs.”  I’m pointing.

“Huh?”

“Max Biggs.  He fell.”

Calvin looks over.  He looks at me.  "He didn’t fall.  He’s in prone position.  He’s sighting in a target.“

"Well,” I say, “you might want to..”  I point again.  "His rifle?“

Calvin looks.  Max Biggs’ rifle has fallen out of his hands.  He’s no longer holding it.  It’s on Calvin’s desk.

While Calvin’s fixing it I can’t resist.  I say: "Did he drop it, err..?”

When did you start going to hospitals?

About five years after.  Well, I guess I went before that.  I mean, I guess that day was the day I started going to hospitals.  That day.  I’d only been for work before.  Or to get shots.

I started remembering room numbers.  1304.  2126.  Who was there.  Grab the chart.  Occasionally I get kicked out.  Now I don’t even make it through the front door.  If there’s someone different working the night desk I can ask my questions.  "Is Matthew here?“  "Do you have a Matthew registered?”  "I don’t know his last name.“  "Matthew Temple.  Did they bring him here?  I don’t know what hospital they took him too.  Can you check?”  It’s some weird type of prank calling, and it gets me off just the same.  It’s not their embarrassment, though, it’s mine—that gets me off.  That there is no Matthew Temple registered, and there never could be.  To create a drama, an improv, in real life, at the hospital desk.  To elicit sympathy, sure.  But mainly not that.  Mainly it’s to re-live.  To re-live some part of a moment that I miss.

The day you went away.  The day you left me, never came back.  The day you came up to do laundry and never finished the load.  Wet clothes, I had to move to the dryer a day later, when I came back from the hospital.  You should never do that to people—leave them and not come back.  You should never.

We make decisions we know are bad for us.  Why do we do that?  The running theory is that we want to destroy ourselves, and I tend to agree with that.  Feeble beings, unable to make ourselves happy, unable to seek life—too weak to—so we settle for what we can do: making ourselves sad, making ourselves crazy, seeking death.  Is it just a lack of capability?  But we do, we do, we seek death.  We go out of our way to approach it, to arrange it.  What if we went so far out of our way to arrange life?  Few do, truly, and I’m not one of them.  I think it’s that we don’t know the reward of seeking life—that we don’t believe the reward is there.  So we don’t know to try.

Because we’re not incapable.  We’re just uneducated.

I’m lying on concrete, having thrown my cell at the desk clerk, cracked it on the window, battery flew somewhere.  I didn’t see.  Security guard has the case.  He’s asking me if I want it, while making sure I don’t come any closer.  I hope he calls the cops.  I hope he does.  They won’t come, though; they’ve got better things to do.  I’ll make it to the bench, here; sleep there if he’ll LET ME!  Don’t touch me.  I don’t want the phone.  Throw it back.  Crack it into a thousand pieces.  Except it won’t crack.  Phones, now: it’s just three pieces, max.  It doesn’t break any further than that.  Cold bench.  Metal bars.  Not meant for sleeping.  Make this shirt into a hood.  Eye that guard.  He’s keeping close watch on me.  Safest place to sleep, in the world, next to a hospital.

“Is Matthew here?”

“Who are you looking for?”

“Matthew Temple.  Did they bring him here?”

“Temple?  Who is it you’re looking for?”

“My brother!!  They took him!!  Did they bring him here!!?”

“I’m checking—just—why don’t you have a seat.”  You look like you have problems.  You might want to take a seat.  Because I know I’m not going to find Matthew Temple in this computer and if I do, it won’t be good news.  Looks like she’s been awake for days.  Wandering.  And whoever Matthew Temple is, he had a bad night.  Yeah.  Wherever Matthew Temple is, he’s not in good shape.  Prob’ly a lot worse shape than this chick.  "What’s your name?“

But she’s not listening.  She’s sat down, back against the snack machine.  Puts a finger in her mouth.  Snaps something off.  Picks it, tearning.  Tearing off a fingernail.  Spits it.  Hits the floor.  "Miss?”

Her eyes perk.

“You want to come over here, pull up a chair, we’ll sign you in.”

“So what happened to your brother?”

“Forget it.  I just want to know what hospital he’s in.”

“That’s what I’m trying to help you find out.  Do you know who brought him in?”

“An ambulance!  It said Goodhew on the side!  Where am I now?”

“You’re at St. Mark’s.”

“Do you guys share ambulances?”

“Yes.  Depending on availability, the crew will take whoever it is to the nearest hospital, generally.  Does your brother have insurance?”

“How the fuck am I supposed to know?”

“Arright.  I’m gonna make a few calls.  You can wait..anywhere over there.”

“Thanks,” she says.

And she’s pushing in the chair, but not very well.

Sleep till about 3am at the hospital, on their shitty bench.  Then back down Hollywood Way.  24 hour Taco Bell.  Warner Bros.  You don’t want to wake up there; they’ll arrest you.  Got to make it back over the hill, back down—probably not going home tonight.  Have to ride a bus back tomorrow.  Where’s my car?  Fuck, my car’s in Palisades.  How the fuck did I get here?  Oh yeah.

That bartender who told me the story about walking down the double stripe on LaBrea in the middle of the night, meeting those cops—she’s got nothing on me.  Should call that girl, ask her to drinks.  Bring her over my place, see how freaky she gets.  Bet with a little encouragement she could be turned into a bad, bad girl.  Trick with that one, I bet, is what to feed her.  I could turn that creature into a bad, bad—she was from Indiana, right?—no—Oklahoma.  Welcome to my corner of the world, girlie.  Though Oklahoma has some decent strip clubs—or that was Carolina.

What was that girl’s name?  Oh yeah: Carolina.

Carolina came to my pad only once.  She had told me that story about walking down the double-stripe on LaBrea, wrapped in a blanket.  Where’d she get the blanket from again?  Oh right: that was from her boyfriend, the porn director she was living with.  That was the one thing she managed to steal from his house before he locked the door.

When Carolina came over, I saw her on the video entry system.  She was dressed cute: short shorts and a tight top, confident bob in her hair, but I imagined her wrapped in some ratty comforter, shivering, looking up at the camera.

“Carolina?”

“Yeah.”

“Come in.  I’ll press the buzzer.”

When she sat down, she pulled a fleece throw off my couch and sat on its corner, on the floor.  Her legs were spread.  I could almost shove a pacifier in that mouth and bust out the Huggies.  Sick, I know.  But these are the thoughts that go through your head.

“What kind of blanket was it again?”

“What?”

“The blanket you were wearing down LaBrea?”

“It was a sheet!”

“Right, that’s fucked up.  That’s all you made it out of there with?”

“I made it out of there with nothing!  His ass locks me out!  I didn’t have anywhere to go!  I passed out on his doormat.  He must have put the sheet on me, sometime.  I never knew he came out!  If I’d’a known he came out I would’a gone back in and beat that motherfucker.”

“Right.  No, right.  You want another glass of wine?”

“What else you got?”

“You’re the bartender.  Go make us a drink?”

“Shot ok?”

Is a shot ok?  Yeah, girlie, a shot is ok.  Can you hold ’em?  Or are you gonna end up walking the double line on LaBrea, holding my fleece.  Break out those Huggies.  Fuck.  "You wanna make me a coffee?  Fuck, I’ll make it.“  I stand.

Carolina is in my kitchen, kneeling on the counter, digging through my cabinets.  Her ass—I mean, what I can I say.  You’ve seen asses.  This one was fat, it was round.  It needed to be popped, like a bubble.  I put my hands on it and turned them, put my fingertips into her.  "How’s our drink coming?”

Carolina brings out a bottle of Aftershock I’d been saving.  "You wanna do shots of this?“ she asks.

I say: "What other drugs do you do?”

Bring out those motherfucking Huggies.

It is a certain delight to corrupt someone.  Someone younger.  To do something with them they’ve never done with anyone else.  To lead them by the hand.  All knowledge is crime.  Sex is just a type of knowledge.  Everything criminal has to do with information.  Laws—whether you agree with them or not—are about maintaining the flow of information.  Usually laws are in place to retard that flow.  That’s why it feels to good breaking them.  I’m not talking about any specific laws, just law in general.

Once I got Carolina’s shorts off things were ok.  She took them off.  I didn’t have to ask her.  She said it was hot.  I know it’s hot, bitch, I turned up the heat.  That’s why this is my place, said the spider to the fly.

“Are you better now?”

“Much.”

I touched her a little bit, then I poured us another shot.

“Have you ever been choked, Carolina?”

“Call me Caroline.”

“Does your family call you Caroline?”

“My family calls me Carolina.  I want you to call me Caroline.”

“Caroline, have you ever been choked, during sex.”

“Not that I remember.”

“Wasn’t—what was the porn director’s name?  Your first boyfriend.”

“He was just my first boyfriend here.”

“Oh, right.”

“That was Bardo.”

“Bardo.  That’s not his real name.”

“How in the fuck..do I know what his real name is?” Caroline says.

“Right.  Why would you.”

“Have I ever been choked?  What are you asking me?  Are you coming on to me?”

“You’re the one who took your pants off.”

“It was hot.”

I touch her some more.

She shakes her head.  "Did you just ask me if I’d ever been choked?“

I smile.

Caroline gets off my counter.  She’s walking through my living room, picking up books, flipping through them, putting them down.  In only her panties.  She turns off a lamp.  She says: "Scientists are fucked up people, for academics.”

I’m certain that doesn’t make sense, from any logical point of view, but I think it means she likes me.

We had her in the dark.  She rejected the idea of huggies, but I managed to get her into blacklight and comb spanking.  That’s where you spank someone with the backside of a comb, a brush.  I have many brushes I like to use for this.  In the blacklight, you can hardly see the red.  It just shows up as a darker blue spot, where you’re spanking them.  It’s an idea conducive to {bad girls}.  {Bad girl} is just a concept—there’s really no such thing.  It’s just a way to get yourself off.  I assume there are bad boys as well, in some configuration.  It’s just a concept you use to get yourself off.  Kink.  You’ve done something wrong—that’s exciting.  There’s nothing especially sexual about sex.  If you break down the taxonomy of ideas, critically.  If you precisely map out the phenomenology of it.  You start to see overlap.  It’s like how Coke is really salty but you don’t normally think of it as being so.  I know Coke doesn’t have salit in it.  But it taste’s salty.  If you pay attention, you can pick it out.  Sex and kink are like that.  If you discern, you can make out individual elements, you can get to the exact definitions of your thoughts.  You can see what you’re really thinking, you can start to see what’s really cumming and what’s really peeing and what’s comforting and what’s sexual and who’s scary and who’s irksome and what on the one hand is merely rare and what on the other hand is truly hard.

I had to do something that made my life meaningful, I felt I had to.  What do you do, in this life?  In this world, with suffering, and minor suffering.  With churches, these buildings erected to worship god, to reach for something higher.  And what, then, when on the whole we stop believing in the things we were reaching for?  All that suffering, in the hopes of making the uncontrollable, happy.  And maybe in the end, everything is lost.  Even when inspiration does come, even when something of life is passed from one person to another, the receiver ultimately dies.  Even when information is formed, encapsulated, broadcast as books or patents or vacuum cleaners, ultimately everyone it benefits goes away.  So even actions that are literally life-saving, have a limited scope.  Their effect is limited.  And that really shows you what we are addressing—not the universe, not logic itself, not some concept of what is possible or what it is possible for us to be.  But simply some lives, some parts of them, some of the time.  It’s better than doing nothing, but it shows you how limited our effects really are.  Maybe I think on too large a scale.  I do better when I deal with what’s immediate.

It’s why people should have kids.  People with families are happy, happier, in a sense.  It may be the appropriate scale for humans, and the other animals like us, to deal in.  Reproduction.  It’s the essence of our being here, truly.  But people like me take this extra brainpower we’ve been given and instead of using it to simple reproduce better, we don’t reproduce at all, not in a straightforward manner.  Our ideas affect others’ reproduction, are implanted in others’ offspring, but to focus almost completely on the mental, on the conceptual..it’s a hard way to live.

And ultimately, scientific work gets co-opted for military purposes.  It happened with the bomb.  Very little science can afford to happen without it being useful for the purposes of war, because that’s how this shit gets paid for.  So it isn’t clean, it isn’t true, it isn’t ideal.  You settle for doing some good, for some people, while helping to oppress many times more.  And maybe the person you’re doing the most good for is yourself, and pretty much everyone else is affected negatively by what you do.

Know this: the work you do is valuable.  You have value.  What you do, matters.  It matters to someone.

Our job is to be awake while others are sleeping.  That’s it.  To be aware of tings that others don’t see.  That’s the whole job.  To be awake, while others have put themselves in a position where they cannot be awake, and must sleep.

To put yourself in a position where you can afford to be awake, is difficult.

To sleep is the default.  As simple as it might seem to be awake, the vigilance of wakefulness is the strictest discipline there is.

These people were leaving the meeting early because they had to be back by eight the next day.  I was the one person not complaining.  And I was the one person who, far from leaving early so I could go to bed, wouldn’t be going to bed at all.

“It just seems like a tough thing to develop, a tough program..that would cause someone—without their knowing it, without their being able to resist it—that’s just hard for me to imagine.”

“Right.”

“But.  It doesn’t seem like it’s hard for you to imagine.”

“Exactly so.  Calvin.”  I stand.  I set down my folder.  "That’s why I make the big bucks.“

"You’ve heard of the military-industrial complex?”

“Yeah.”

“Well this is the corporate-educational complex.  It’s the new deal.”

“Oh really.”

“Yeah.  Same thing.  Different decade.”

“I think you have that saying wrong.”

“I prefer my G-rated version.”

“That strains credulity, to believe that it’s the G-rated aspect of your modified version that is why you like that version better.”

“It strains credulity?  You mean it’s..hard?”

“Very.”

You need to be taking it apart.  You need to be breaking it down.  There are rarely moments of creation.  Most of what happens is glue, inbetween.  Coasting.  This is what you’ll find most people doing.  You need to be taking it apart, breaking it down.  You can’t do it all the time.  I know that.  Neither can I.  But you need to know when you’re coasting and when you are, truly, breaking it down.  That way when you’re coasting you can go chill in St. Barths or something.  Drink Scotch.  When you’re done with that, when you are ready to truly break it down, then you come back from St. Barths.  You get with the picture.  You log back into the system, you create some output again.  While you’re coasting you keep your mouth shut, you let the wind push you along that green ocean.  Then you come inland, you head back up that mountain, and we’ll break it down together.

There are two tracks.  There is the looking-forward track and there is the looking-backward track.  The looking-forward track is a track with no instructions.  This is where you will find prophets, where you will find innovators, where you will find scientists.  This is where you’ll find people like Louis Pasteur.  Or fucking Tesla, right?  Ok?  In their lifetime, these people will be seen as a combination of genius and freak (mostly freak).  This people will not be invited to dinner.  They will not be invited to your party.  If you do invite them by mistake you will not invite them back.  They will be alone, in their laboratories.  They will talk to themselves.  They will say things to you today that you will hear three days later.  That’s the forward-looking track.  The backward-looking track you will find in university halls, on the whole, reading other people’s ideas.  There’s nothing wrong with this.  You may recall that at times a person is coasting and at times a person is breaking shit down?  Society as a whole does this as well.  Not every performance can be a 10 (as the Trojan commercial states).  I prefer lamb skin.

I was driving down Sunset Boulevard when the shits took hold.  I may have crossed the yellow line.  Drunk, naturally.  Was trying to get to Sandy’s.  Couldn’t remember the street.  It was down this way somewhere.  This is in my Nissan.  Love that car.  Had to find a dumpster in this Carl Jr.’s parking lot to shit in.  Terrible, terrible runs.  Totally drunk.  Left some shit in the car, had to clean it out the next day.  Threw away what clothes I had left when I got home—which wasn’t much.  I think that’s when I realized I had a problem.  It was a couple months later before I did something about it.  I had to do a little stint in a very lovely psychiatric facility and travel another few thousand miles by drunk bicycle before I came to my senses.  I’m serious.  Drunk bicycle is its own vehicle.  That’s not the same as a regular bicycle.

I pull up to Whitsett and Magnolia on a drunk bicycle.  Had this plastic cup we got at Six Flags, back when there was Six Flags.  I was working on mojitos that summer.  What I was drinking was hardly a mojito, but it was most likely rum-based.  Like I said, I was working on mojitos that summer.

Pulled up to Whitsett and Magnolia.  This asshole in a truck jumps up on the sidewalk, gives me the finger.  I was in his parking spot or something.

“Stay in your LANE!!”

What the fuck.

My phone is out.  "Sandy.  Where are you?  I’m in Hollywood.  No, I’m on bicycle.  What?  I’m on bicycle.  I have to get ingredients, you should swing by.  You want a 40?  I’ll get you an AJ Stephen’s, errr—fuck, can you meet me?  Meet me at the gas station?  It’s like a Conoco or something, meet me at the yellow sign.  What?!  The yellow sign.“  I’ll be at the yellow sign.

I never made it to the yellow sign.  My drunk bicycle fell into the street, and I almost got run over by a bunch of Ford Focuses painted blue.  That would be horrible if you got hit by a car and it was a Ford Focus.  Especially if it was a blue one.

The problem with drunk bicycle is LA sidewalks are shit.  Totally unmaintained.  Sidewalk in name only.  Just enough so the mayor, when he’s meeting with South American mayors of cities like X and Y—so he can have lunch with those guys and say: "Yeah, we have sidewalks too.”

[about waking up and finding things out of order..that’s what really bothers her about getting fucked up..the ocd thing..not even the state itself..it’s the story it tells you about your own life]

[liking different-colored socks..subjectively..what one likes about it]

It is important to play with those you won’t break.

Take off the training wheels.

The problem with doing something beautiful is you have to have someone extraordinary to notice.

[trying to quit coffee..all I could think about was coffee :: the old me is dead and gone :: that’s not the me I am now :: change and letting go]

And this is my education.  This is the birth of a queen.  This is where royalty is born.  Not in college halls, not from trust funds, not in politics.  But with the poor.

I was still there, where I had left myself.  I hadn’t gone anywhere.

Nothing inbetween had done anything to erase what I had once known.

Some thin line, erasing all that had come between us.  And you were still there, just like I remembered you, syllables intact, soul, even that spirit of humor, wiping us both away.  I might have known you once, in a dream.  You might have assailed me.  But nothing could hurt us now, and nothing would hurt us then.

I found you in a dream.  You even knew my name, and called its notes.

Flat harmony.  Breathing.  And a murmured name.

What I had laid down, I picked up, and nothing was lost.

I couldn’t remember being gone.

Everything I saw, was as it had always been: true.

fz